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Teen Maze teaches students that choices have consequences
Victims Chloe Johnson (in red vehicle) and Hannah McQueen are shown in a mock crash during the Teen Maze on March 20. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott

utomobile wreck got students’ attention as the Teen Maze got started for Effingham County 10th graders last week.
Taking part in the first wreck scenario on March 20 at the Effingham County Recreation and Parks Department, Chloe Johnson, Hannah McQueen, Micaiah Bolton and Sherman Pitts from the Effingham County High School Drama Club portrayed the accident victims. The scene was pretty realistic with the ‘victims’ bloodied and in dramatic poses as the first responders arrived on the scene.
Dr. Jackie Brown, a social worker and the homeless liaison for Effingham County Schools, has been working with Teen Maze for five years since she and Erin Woodcock started the program to impact local students.
Brown said, “Teen Maze is a life-sized game for teenaged students to experience life consequences without actually experiencing them for real. They’re able to go through various scenarios that help them to make decisions they will make in life. We have students that text and drive, and because of it they might end up in a funeral home because they got in a car accident and they were killed. Hopefully, this will keep them from making these actual decisions in real life and it may save a life — that’s what our hope is.”
Teen Maze features many organizations in Family Connection of Effingham County.
“I’m so grateful for our community partners,” Brown said. “We could not pull this off without them. They are so helpful.”
Over the course of two days, about 150 students from ECHS, 70 from Effingham College and Career Academy and 110 from South Effingham went through the course.
The course started with a wreck scene,and then to a party scene where about 10-15 students are “arrested.” Some are sent to a station wear drunk driving goggles where they get the experience of trying out everyday tasks as if they were impaired. Some wore the goggles while trying to open a dooror play cornhole. Some even tried to drive a course in a golf cart with the goggles on.
The rest go to experience 1 where they are given their scenarios which tell them what stations they need to go to in the maze. Once they finish with their first scenarios, they go to the second experience and they go through about three or four more real-world scenarios. Depending on which scenarios they draw, they might “graduate” or they might have a new baby to care for. This gives the students a feel for where bad life choices may take them.
Student Christopher Marbin from ECHS said the Teen Maze showed him the consequences of what you might do wrong as a teen, and he said the wreck scenario made him sad and he hoped he'd never have to see something like that in his life.
Laura Mettler, also from ECHS, said it showed her the importance of not putting yourself in bad situations.
Woodcock said they started Teen Maze at South Effingham High School after seeing it done in other counties. They pulled together resources from Effingham’s Family Connection to begin putting it together. They had a second year at South High and then Effingham High got on board. Then the Effingham County Board of Education approved for them to move the maze off site to the recreation department.
Students’ parents sign permission forms so they can be bused to the site.
Woodcock said their goal is for the students to graduate, and to graduate they have to make good choices.