Local leaders in Gadsden County held a day of straight talk for some of the county's middle schoolers. Ways of dealing with drugs and peer pressure were just some of the items up for discussion.
"So how do you get past someone putting you down?" asks Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, speaking to students at Shanks Middle School where he once served as resource officer.
Sadly, Sheriff Young has had to see many of those he mentored go behind bars.
"Our courtrooms are filled every two weeks with young men facing the judge and they seem to not have a sense of direction. Our jails are packed, and we are sending so many of our young men to prison," says Young.
"Those who talked about you, see where they are seven, eight or 10 years from now," states Gadsden County School Superintendent Reginald James.
He and the sheriff are taking lead in an effort to take back the county's young men and fill them with hope.
Kevin Harris, a Shanks Middle School student, says, "The workshop helped me because it encouraged me to do the right thing in school."
James adds, "We talked about the importance of education, good associations, good study habits, basically good choices. Those good choices will lead to success in life."
For the young men, having positive role models take time from their schedules was priceless.
Thurston Ward, another Shanks student, says, "They are popular, and we need some popular people around this school to be an influence in our lives."
Johnnie Beamon, also a Shanks student, adds, "Really, I haven't thought about my future life yet, but I will take a good think about that when I get home."
The straight talk seminars are planned for every school in the county. Superintendent James says a straight talk seminar for the girls is in the works.