Poplarville Middle School students learn the importance of education
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Students from Poplarville Middle School learned a valuable lesson inside a school bus. Tuesday, numerous students boarded The Choice Bus, where they received a firsthand look at the importance of finishing school.
The Choice Bus is visiting Poplarville Middle School for a two-day session in collaboration with Bobby Weathersby of Poplarville State Farm and The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation. The bus is concluding its visit at the school today.
The bus has been converted into a half-prison cell, half-classroom that visually portrays what life could be like for students who either choose to stay in school or drop out.
“Eight out of ten high school dropouts end up behind bars at some point in their lives. Generally, without a high school education, finding employment is impossible,” said Eryka Perry, the foundation’s presenter, who shared her message with seventh-grade students inside the bus.
After playing a short, interactive video highlighting the importance of education, Perry pulled back a curtain unveiling a full-scale replica of a jail cell.
“The common theme with every inmate who drops out of school is that they give up on education and their dreams,” Perry said to the class.
The bus is one of the six tools created by the foundation in order to reduce the nation’s high school dropout rate. While the foundation is based in Birmingham, Ala., the bus travels to schools nationwide, Perry said.
This is the first time the bus visited Poplarville Middle School, State Farm Marketing Coordinator Stacy Wilkes said.
Wilkes said she decided to partner with the foundation through State Farm in order to make a difference in students lives.
“This allows students to see, touch and feel what it could be like if they dropped out of school,” Wilkes said. “In the future, they will be able to reflect back on this day and hopefully make the right decision.”
According to The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, a student drops out of school every 26 seconds.
“There are so many statistics that show students are dropping out of school. Students encounter different obstacles in life and it’s something we strive to educate them on. Education is key,” said Vicki Boone, Poplarville Middle School assistant principal. She also said this program allows her students to learn a valuable life lesson outside of the classroom.
“We are a tool for educators, parents and students to help them start a conversation and we hope they continue this conversation for the sake of the students,” Perry said.
In 2007, the foundation was established to provide tools and resources to help the country address the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate.