Conquer fear, just live: Conquest program visits HHS

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The Helena High School gymnasium was packed the afternoon of Oct. 14 as students in all grade levels received advice from a group of students who make up the Conquest program.

The Conquest program travels across the country to speak to students in all grade levels on topics that include making smart choices, peer pressure, substance abuse, bullying and more.

A variety of speakers came and shared stories with HHS students and performed a variety of skits depicting different situations such as being held back by chains that stood for drugs and alcohol that prevents someone from reaching their goals.

Two of the most eye-opening moments of the assembly came when numerous students stood when they were asked to stand if they knew someone who was killed by drinking and driving or from a drug overdose.

Amber Gaddis, who is in her eighth year with the Conquest program, told a story about her friend Kim who had many dreams and aspirations to succeed in life until her life was cut short by a drunk driver.

“You and I have a choice to make everyday,” Gaddis said. “The choices you make in life do not just affect yourself. They also affect everyone else around you.”

Based on the audience and ages of the students, the Conquest program will adjust the subject matter of what they discuss and the skits they act out.

This fall, the Conquest program will visit numerous schools throughout Shelby County including, Calera Middle School, Vincent Middle High School, Calera High School, Montevallo Middle School, Oak Mountain Middle School, Montevallo High School, Shelby County High School, Riverchase Middle School, Helena Middle School, Cornerstone Christian School, Oak Mountain Intermediate School, Kingwood Christian School and Thompson High School.

In addition to local schools, Gaddis said the program has traveled as far north as New York and as far west as California.

“My favorite thing about doing this is when we ask the students to stand up if they want to reach their dreams and potential,” said Gaddis. “When they realize that their dreams are possible that is the best part for me.”