Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tesia Galvan
Staff Writer 

Life R U Ready?

Students get glimpse into life choices


May 6, 2016

Marcus Huff

Under the supervision of Worland Fire Chief Chris Kocher, firefighters use the jaws-of-life- to free Worland Middle School eighth-grade student Willow Bouldin from a simulated wrecked vehicle. The demonstration was part of "Life R U Ready?", a program across multiple agencies to teach middle school students the impact of their actions.

WORLAND – There are consequences to all life's decisions, and a new pilot program for local eighth graders and freshmen introduced students to real experiences and gave students hands-on opportunity to realize where their potential life choices can take them.

"Life R U Ready?" brought in eighth graders and some freshmen from Worland, Ten Sleep and Meeteetse schools to the Worland Middle School Auditorium Wednesday morning for the day-long event.

The program, organized by sixth- through eighth-grade counselor Danielle Warren and middle and elementary school counselor Jenifer Berdahl, centered around students gaining close up knowledge on where they could end up if they don't make thoughtful, empowered decisions.

Students first sat through a speech by Worland High School guidance counselor and AP U.S. History teacher Randy Durr where he empowered students to take chances, be leaders and live their life the fullest so they can be proud of their "dash." (A nod to the popular poem by Linda Ellis called "The Dash.")

Following Durr's speech, students were broken into groups and sent off by color coordinated buses to go to places like the Washakie County Courthouse, Bryant Funeral Home, Crisis Prevention and Resource Center, Public Health and Family Planning and the Wyoming Boys School.

Warren and Berdahl picked these places to incorporate life experiences so students can realize what happens to them if they break the law, text and drive or get pregnant or end up at the Boys School.

At the courthouse, the group of students were separated and participated in mock trials where four students portrayed a defendant and victim for mock circuit and district trials.

Students were represented by Washakie County Attorney John P. Worrall, Washakie County Deputy Attorney Cassie Craven and defense attorney Ed Luhm.

The realistic setting was enhanced when District Court Judge Robert E. Skar heard the case for battery and the defendant was put in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffed.

At Public Health, a different group of students learned about sexual health and examined several models of the stages of the progression and formation of a baby in a uterus.

Students watched various films about consent, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual harassment and also listened to a guest speaker who shared her experience being a mother at the age of 14 and how that impacted her life.

Pilot year

The program was a transition for students, as it changed from the previous years, but Warren and Berdahl agreed the overall feedback was positive.

"Our goal was to help them learn what to do if they got into these situations ... and to help them make choices and know the consequences they have," Warren said

"The kids were engaged but released how depressing these situations can be," she added.

Following the day's events students had to give a presentation to their homeroom class on what they learned, and Warren said, "It was amazing to hear the students tell their classmates what they learned and what they took away."

"Students were able to share with their peers on how to navigate through life and the situations they might encounter," Berdahl said.

Warren said they plan to continue the program next year.


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