Program encourages PPMS students to make good choices

PELHAM – The middle school years are often challenging for students. Adjusting to attending seven different classes per day, worrying about making friends and fitting in and experiencing puberty are just a few of the challenges students face.

On Tuesday, Oct. 31, members of Conquest, a group made up of college students, travelled to Pelham Park Middle School to talk the school’s sixth, seventh and eighth graders about the power of making good choices.

During the assembly Conquest performed skits aimed at encouraging the students to make good decisions and some members of the group shared personal stories. The skits performed touched on topics such as peer pressure, substance abuse and bullying.

“We want the students to know the power they have and that they can truly stand out in a crowd,” said Conquest team leader Desiree Tetterton. “We also want them to know that the decisions they make today can change their lives forever.”

Conquest director Amber Gaddis said students are connecting more with their message this year than ever before.

“After the program, we’re having more and more kids come up to us and say that this is exactly what they’re going through,” Gaddis said.

After the program, members of Conquest sat and talked individually with a few students who approached them with questions or just needed a listening ear.

Seventh-grader Danielle Sumner said the program was interesting.

“It’s really changed my thoughts about what can happen if you make bad decisions,” she said. “Drugs can completely change your life and turn you in to a different person.”

The program came of the end of Red Ribbon Week, which raises awareness about the dangers of drug and alcohol use and is observed by schools across the nation. The Conquest program travelled to 11 schools throughout Shelby County during Red Ribbon Week.