Powerful choices, powerful consequences
Jan. 26, 2017
Life changing: that's what Duanesburg High School students called the Choices: DWI Program, presented by the Albany County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 13. Duanesburg health teacher Sondra Rondeau said it was "the most powerful field trip I've ever attended."
Students in grades 9 through 12 from health and life in the E.R. classes took part in the visit to the program's Altamont location. Afterward, they wrote essays reflecting on their experiences.
In her essay, Cayla wrote, "Something that will stick with me is the knowledge that one bad decision can end somebody's life. . . A couple drinks can end a person's life, or in fact, your own careless decisions lead to bad repercussions."
Luke reads through information about illegal drugs.
Morgan wrote, "I really thought it was a good idea to put a casket with a mirror in it as soon as you walk in. When I looked in and saw myself, it really made me realize that this can happen to anyone."
First Sergeant Tracy A. Mance spoke to the students about destructive decisions, drug and alcohol abuse, and legal implications. She then led students in an exercise where they wore "beer goggle" glasses that give the effect of intoxication on vision, balance and judgment.
Prison is one of many consequences of poor decisions. Speakers at the Choices program included recovering addicts and people now living with brain damage. "The field trip taught me many things," Jakob wrote in his essay. "It taught me not to drink and drive and not to do drugs."
Morgan wrote, "Something that will stick with me from this presentation is the fact that there were 580 pairs of shoes, and each pair represented a death in New York due to drunk driving. Not just that, but it was all in the time period of one year. . .The fact that one of my good friends, her mother and her grandmother were three people [killed by a drunk driver] breaks my heart."
Choices had a profound impact on these 9th-12th graders and their teacher. Another group of Duanesburg High School students will visit the Choices program in March.
According to the Albany County Sheriff's Office, Choices was begun in 2005 as a traveling display by Ed Frank to bring awareness to teens about the dangers of reckless driving and the importance of wearing a seatbelt. He asked Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple to continue the program in 2015.
Choices uses a combination of open discussion, visuals, and speakers to increase teen awareness of the consequences of risky behavior.
"The goal is to not only increase awareness in the community, but also show the importance of opening the lines of communication about difficult topics." READ MORE ON THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE WEBSITE