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Dover Post
  • The Choice Bus makes a stop at Dover High School

  • Dover High School students were given a glimpse into what it might be like to call a jail cell home on Wednesday when they stepped inside the Choice Bus.
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  • Dover High School students were given a glimpse into what it might be like to call a jail cell home on Wednesday when they stepped inside the Choice Bus.
    The Choice Bus is an anti-dropout program that travels to schools across the country giving students an interactive look into how their choice to either complete their education or to drop out of high school can affect their future.
    Bringing the Choice Bus to Dover High School was a collaborative effort between The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, the program that runs the Choice Bus; State Farm; and Communities in Schools, a national anti-dropout program that is offered at Dover High. The Choice Bus provides students a different perspective on staying in school, said Jen Koester, state operations manager for Communities in Schools.
    “Sometimes telling kids, ‘you have to stay in school,’ doesn’t really resonate,” said Koester. “Having them go through an interactive experience that focuses on choices gives them a different way of viewing their future.”
    When students boarded the Choice Bus they were first given an introduction from presenter Eryka Perry before being shown a video that featured interviews with inmates who discussed their regret over not finishing their high school education. Following the video students were shown into the back of the bus, which features a replica of a jail cell.
    The purpose of the jail cell is not to “scare students straight”, but to give them some insight, Koester said.
    “It’s like you have choices in life and if you make X choices you are more likely to go down this path and if you make Y choices you are more likely to go down this path,” she said. 
    Students were provided with statistics regarding incarceration rates and earning potential. For example, Perry said 75 percent of those in prison are high school dropouts and the average college graduate will earn $1 million more over their lifetime than someone who dropped out of high school.
    Perry wrapped up the experience by asking students about their future career and educational plans and by offering a bit of advice
    “I’m asking you all to promise yourselves that you’ll take your education seriously, that you’ll graduate from high school and that you’ll think about the choices you make,” Perry said. “No one and nothing can take anything away from you that you do not allow. No one will give it to you; don’t allow anyone to take it from you.”
    Some students took the program to heart, and said it was more than just being told to stay in school.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It was more effective because of the video and the testament from prisoners and how they said not getting their education affected them,” Pierce said.
    This is the second yearthe Choice Bus has made a stop at Dover High School, and Terisha Collins, site director for Communities in Schools, said she has seen the program make a difference.
    “I’ve seen a change in some of the students we work with on a daily basis,” Collins said. “They remember the Choice Bus. It isn’t something that just stays on their mind for that day.”
    Roughly 100 students at Dover High School took a tour of the Choice Bus on Wednesday.
    “I learned that no matter what, if you go to school and get your education you can become better than what others have done when they’ve dropped out,” said Dover High student Leanna Ketterman.
     
     

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