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BMS students learn life lessons through ‘maze’

There were a lot of kids “getting drunk,” “having sex” and even “dying” at Bainbridge Middle School last Thursday and Friday. But don’t worry, it was all just pretend.

The students were participating in the annual Decatur County Family Connection “teen maze,” in which the BMS seventh and eighth graders learned the consequences of decisions that they might one day have to make as high schoolers and adults.

Each student traveled from station to station in the maze, and each time received a random direction that told them where to go next. For some, they picked “good choices” and got to go to graduation or college. For others, a “bad choice” selection meant a trip to jail, or worse.

Since the path through the maze was determined by the random chance of drawing pieces of paper out of a bag, each student had a different end result.

“I ended up getting drunk twice, going to a party and getting arrested and sent to jail twice,” said seventh grader Jillian Hawkins. “It definitely scared me a little, but I learned a lot, too.”

Seventh grader Jacoiah Harrell said he learned the consequences of having a child at a young age.

“My girlfriend got injured and I had to drop out of high school,” he said. “She got pregnant, but the baby died. I got my GED, and now I’m looking for a job so I can pay for my baby’s funeral.

“I really felt sad. I learned to wait until marriage before having sex.”

At the end of the maze, the students met with an adult at the evaluation table. The Rev. Brian Hatchett of Calvary Baptist Church was one of the volunteers who gave his time Friday to work at the evaluation station.

“We’re here to talk to them about the choices that they made during the maze,” he said. “But we also ask them what decision they should have made instead. This is my first year doing this and I think it’s a great idea.”

Tristan Harrell, who is also in seventh grade at BMS, said his pretend self got a sexually-transmitted disease and eventually dropped out of school.

“It was interesting,” he said. “I know I would have never made those choices.”