The Choice Bus visits Central School

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

Fifth and sixth grade students at Central School were visited by The Choice Bus on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Choice Bus is a interactive learning tool provided by the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation to teach students about the importance of graduating from high school and receiving college or workforce training after high school.

Chet Pennock, lead presenter with the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, said the Choice Bus teaches children about good and bad choices they could make throughout their lifetime and the consequences of those choices.

“Our mission is to increase the graduation rate and decrease the dropout rate,” Pennock said.

Central School Principal Wynesther Cousins said this was the first year the Choice Bus travelled to Central School, and the Clay County Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta organized the event.

Students listened to a short presentation from speakers with the foundation about the importance of graduation and the options available to high school graduates, watched a short video showing inmates throughout the county discussing their poor life choices and toured a replica jail cell located at the back of the Choice Bus.

“I had the opportunity to sit in during one of the presentations, and the students were very receptive to it,” Cousins said. “The presenter went over how much money someone would make after graduating high school and pursues a college education or learns a trade versus the consequences of dropping out of high school.”

According to the presentation, high school graduates make an average of $1 million throughout their lifetime, and 75 percent of inmates in the country did not finish high school.

“It’s hugely important that you graduate,” Pennock said to students during the presentation. “You must make that commitment to yourself."

Cousins said she plans to have The Choice Bus visit Central School again in the future.

“I think it is much needed for their age group,” Cousins said. “The presentation was very age appropriate for the students.”

Pennock said The Choice Bus, which is based out of Birmingham and travels from Texas to Pennsylvania, began traveling in 2007, and since then it has reached over 2 million students. The Choice Bus is sponsored by State Farm Insurance.