Health Department holds first annual Teen Maze art contest

Published 10:05 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

When the freshman students of Troup County School System walked into a party at the Callaway Conference Center, they were dancing to the music, laughing at jokes, and enjoying refreshments. Then TiShari McFarland of the Troup County Health Department stepped in to stop the music and introduce the students to Teen Maze.

Each year, TCSS partners with the Health Department to host the interactive event where students participate in a real life ‘maze’ of decisive events that will decide if they will graduate based on the experiences and consequences of their choices throughout the day’s events.

McFarland said, “The ultimate goal of Teen Maze is to encourage teens to think before they act, and to make positive choices that lead to an on-time graduation.”

Students from all three high schools also experienced other scenes such as a drunk driving course, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and for some — graduation.

This year, the Health Department also hosted an art contest so students could share their vision of choices that lead to possible negative outcomes depicted through this medium. This was the first-ever Teen Maze art contest for the young learners and Terry Jordan Franklin was proud to have his art displayed as the winner and collect the $100 prize money.

The LaGrange High freshman stated, “When I graduate, I want may become an engineer or computer program, but I also think about being a comic book artist. My original thought was to draw some of the choices I made, but I ultimately decided to use a comic book theme showing both good and bad choices.”

“I have been drawing since third grade and my dad has always been a big inspiration in my life. He made some really good choices so it’s always inspiring to see that,” Franklin said through a wide smile.

When he is not drawing on canvas or paper, he can be found playing video games or simply hanging out with his friends. Of the win, he says, “I was totally surprised that I won. I didn’t expect it, but I am happy to see that I did.” Of the winnings, he says, “I am not sure what I will do with it just yet, but I am glad I won.”