‘Choice Bus’ visits GHS next Tuesday

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Students at Greenville High School will be presented a choice on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

The Choice Bus, a visible representation of prison’s harsh realities and equally divided between a classroom and jail cell, will be at GHS. The bus, sponsored by the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, is another tool state educators are using to encourage students to stay in school.

“Students who stay in school and achieve a high school diploma will be more productive citizens and earn more than their counterparts who don’t,” said Dr. Joe Morton, Alabama’s State Superintendent. “The work The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation is doing to help reduce the dropout rate is important in keeping children in school and learning.”

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The bus also has the support of Richard Allen, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections.

“60 percent of those incarcerated in Alabama have a high school diploma or less. Efforts being made by The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation will help to curb the dropout rate and hopefully reduce our prison population,” he said.

Students will view a short film after entering the bus and then a curtain will be drawn back to reveal a stark prison cell.

The foundation was established by Dr. Shelley Stewart and named in honor of his mother, who he witnessed killed by his own father in 1939 when he was five years old.

Prior to construction of The Choice Bus, Stewart also produced an hour-long DVD documentary entitled InsideOut. In the documentary, Stewart interviews prisoners about the choices they made that eventually led them to jail.

One of the first choices for many was the decision to drop out of school.

“If we don’t do something about the dropout rate, then all youth are at risk. America is at risk. It is an epidemic,” said Stewart.