“There will be new twists,” said Maxine Trahan of the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Trahan, along with Allen “Noochie” Credeur of the Rayne Police Department, spoke to the Rotary Club of Crowley Tuesday about the program, which enters its second year this year.
Choices is about two weeks from production and will involve, be seen and discussed in all the high schools of the parish this year.
“We are really excited,” said Trahan. “Each school will be involved this year and each will have a mock funeral where the video ultimately will be shown to every high school student in the parish.”
Additionally, Trahan explained that one of the guest speakers has asked to go to all the schools and thus students at each school will not only see the video, but will see how someone was effected in real life by another’s bad choice.
While not letting much out of the bag, Trahan did say that the new twists will reflect the trends that the police officers in the parish have seen this year and will have an impact on everyone, not just the students.
“We just want to educate everybody,” she said. “We want to get the word out there.”
Choices stems from a long-standing Lafayette program, “No Fear, No Future.” Trahan not only felt its impact upon seeing the Lafayette video last year, but knew a simlar project could effect the students in Acadia Parish, which, according to statistical data, has the highest rate of underage drinking.
“We know what we see on an everyday basis,” said Trahan. “That’s what we are using.”
But Choices does not focus only on drinking and driving and Trahan says even more emphasis on distracted driving and things like texting while driving continue to rise locally and nationally.
Adding to the excitement for many involved in the creation and production of the project is how many like Trahan and Credeur saw an immediate impact from last year’s film and production.
“If we save one life, we’ve done a little bit,” said Trahan.
Credeur brought up how one student at the planning meeting last week pulled him and Trahan aside to say she had done all the things they were discussing and wanted to really experience the program more now.
“It’s through stories like this that we know we are impacting these students,” said Credeur.
Trahan elaborated, saying parents have said they’ve seen changes in their children since last year’s program. She pointed to schools like Rayne High, whose students pledged to do something other than party after prom to stay safe.
Credeur said that many students at RHS opted for bowling post-prom and the two after parties were not well attended because students signed those pledges and stuck to them.
Trahan commended Acadia Parish’s support of the project and had glowing compliments of this year’s student participants.
“Some of the young adults are scared, but a lot are excited,” she said. “All of them want to be a part of spreading the message.”
As an example of that fear, Trahan discussed how one student got to the hospital last year to film her death scene with her mom and she did not want to die.
“It’s amazing really,” she said. “All of these kids do these things, but all of them are scared to die.”