On Friday, December 7th, students at B-L Middle School had the opportunity to take a seat on The Choice Bus, which is a mobile, experience-based learning tool that is designed to demonstrate the importance of receiving an education and the potential consequences associated with dropping out of school.
Upon entering the bus, participants were able to watch a short video that quizzed them on the lifetime earning potential of a dropout versus a high school and college graduate. Statistics show that college graduates earn a million dollars more over their lifetime than high school dropouts. The movie also featured several powerful interviews with prison inmates who discussed their regret for making poor choices that eventually led them to drop out of school. According to information received from The Choice Bus, 75% of prisoners are high school dropouts. At the conclusion of the video, a full-scale model of a prison cell was revealed at the very back of the bus. Students who desired to do so were able to tour the replica cell in order to experience firsthand the uncomfortable living conditions prison inmates must face every day. As students exited the bus, they received a pledge card and were asked to make a promise to themselves to finish school and make good life choices.
The Choice Bus, which was sponsored locally by State Farm, is a product of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit organization that works to help educators and community leaders reduce the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate. The goal of The Choice Bus is to show students that a good education leads to a lifetime of opportunities, while a lack of education could lead to a lifetime of hardship.