Ex-bank robber to advise students about smart decisions

EDUCATION NOTEBOOK

October 07, 2007|By John-John Williams IV

Centennial and Mount Hebron high schools have recruited a former bank robber and prisoner to talk to students about making smart decisions.

Troy Evans, who is based in Phoenix, Ariz., will talk to students this week about the dangers of drug use and peer pressure.

Evans' presentation will address how early substance abuse led to his criminal behaviors as an adult, said Betsy Coe, a Centennial guidance counselor and the instructional team leader of the guidance center.

"With the amount of alcohol we've had at Centennial, we're in need of a conversation," Coe said.

Centennial is one of four county high schools this school year that have banned fans from bringing beverages to sporting events in an effort to curb underage drinking. The others are Atholton, Howard and Wilde Lake high schools.

Coe teamed up with Kami Wagner, a guidance counselor at Mount Hebron, to plan the event.

"We have seen an increase in stupid things that were going on in the northern part of the county," Coe said. "Neither Centennial or Mount Hebron need a tragedy."

Evans' appearance is part of the yearlong "Think Before You Act" campaign that is sponsored by the guidance departments at both schools and by the Ellicott City Horizon Council.

"He relates a lot of his choices in life back to high school," Coe said. "He relates the message: You need to think before you act. He's very in touch with kids. That is the kind of person who will reach them on their level. "

The schools paid Evans $15,000 for five presentations.

Coe said Evans is worth the money.

Evans will speak twice to Centennial students tomorrow. He will make two presentations on Tuesday at Mount Hebron. In addition, Evans will speak to parents during a session at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Centennial High School's auditorium.

"The parents are really geared up," Coe said. "They see it as important as we do."

10th anniversary

Calling all Retrievers, past and present.

Triadelphia Ridge Elementary is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and will have a revamped homecoming event to mark the occasion.

The Homecoming Retriever Rally from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today will be an opportunity for alumni and staff members to come back to the school, reminisce and enjoy themselves.

Plenty of attractions, including hayrides, clowns, magicians, snow cones, pumpkin painting and assorted games, are planned, said Laura E Hulett, the school's PTA President.

"Almost everything is free," Hulett said. "There will be a charge for concessions."

One of the highlights will be a cake walk, a game that results in winners taking home delicious desserts.

"It is a very big tradition," Hulett said.

The homecoming event usually attracts about 300 people. This year, Hulett is expecting many more.

"We have broadcast to papers and feeder schools," she said.

An influx of students caused by redistricting won't hurt attendance numbers.

"It has made our community base larger," she said. "What could have been a really tough situation for children and families ended up being a really smooth, smooth transition."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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