ROCKSPRINGS — Encouraging, teaching and helping teens was the focus of the first “Above The Influence” summit held in Meigs County.
Students from Eastern, Meigs and Southern high schools attended the one day event at Meigs High School, with several speakers and presenters taking part.
Meigs County Juvenile Court Judge Scott Powell welcomed all in attendance and introduced the presenters throughout the day.
“There is a very important reason why we are here,” said Powell. “Meigs County, along with the entire region, is under attack from the destructive powers of drugs and prescription pills. There is no longer one school, one neighborhood, one family in Meigs County that has not been affected.”
Powell challenged each student in attendance to live their life “Above the Influence.”
Superintendents Scot Gheen (Eastern), Rusty Bookman (Meigs) and Tony Deem (Southern) were on hand for the event, along with principals Shawn Bush (Eastern), Steve Ohlinger (Meigs) and Daniel Otto (Southern).
In addition to the planning done by the “adults,” students from each school served on the planning committee to make the event something that the students themselves wanted.
The summit had two main purposes, first, to let students know that poor choices and drug use will lead to consequences of health problems, death, arrests and jail, family problems, difficulty graduating and difficulty keeping a job; and second, to challenge students and to encourage them to live above the influence by making good choices.
“I promise each of you that life is better and easier by not fooling with drugs,” Powell said.
Speakers at the event included the Meigs County Major Crimes Task Forces, which is active in investigating and arresting drug users and dealers; Brooks Gibbs, who is a national best selling author and motivational speaker; the Sanctify Drama Team from the Vinton Baptist Church; the STAND Strength Team; Paula Dillon and Jessica Newell of Reed and Baur Insurance Agency, along with Lieutenant Max Norris — Commander of the Gallia-Meigs State Highway Patrol — who showed a video presentation on the dangers of texting and driving; and Judson Laipply, who is a motivational speaker.
Rockin’ Reggie was also on hand throughout the day to provide music for the event.
Powell concluded the event by saying, “We hope that all of you will look at drug choices in the future in two ways: 1. What if I take drugs and like it? You will become a drug addict and have all the consequences and risks of that life, or, 2. What if I take drugs and don’t like it? You will have gained absolutely nothing, but risked everything.”
“Don’t take that risk. Be in control. Enjoy your music, sports, band, art, hunting or whatever you do to have fun by making good choices, and living above the influence.”