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Alumna Chris Stanley speaks to student body

Chris Stanley, a DCHS graduate, spoke to the student body last week about several different issues she has seen.  Ms. Stanley is a case manager and counselor at Our Home in South Dakota, a treatment facility for teenagers 12 to 18.


She had visited with principal Brenda Breth on Friday and then spoke to the students on Monday, Feb. 8. “The things she told me that she deals with at her work just stuck with me.  I called her after she left my office and asked if she would come back and share some of her stories with our students,” said Mrs. Breth.  “We can tell kids that drinking, marijuana, and vaping are bad for them, but I really wanted Chris to explain what can happen to kids if they keep making bad choices. I hoped that since she is a former DCHS student, that since she has walked these halls and sat in the same classrooms, the students would listen and be able to relate to her,” said Mrs. Breth. 


Ms. Stanley explained that brains are not fully developed until the mid to late 20s. “The chemicals you are putting into your bodies can affect your brain,” she said.  “The THC in today’s pot is 300 times more potent than in the pot of the 1990s. It’s more addictive.” She said that people can overdose, suffer brain damage, or have psychotic episodes on today’s pot.  She also said that emergency rooms are seeing more and more cases of marijuana overdose.


She also explained that we don’t know what long-term effects the chemicals in vapes will have on our bodies. “What you do now can affect you for the rest of your life,” she said.



Ms. Stanley used the analogy of ordering off a menu. “You look at that menu and choose something carefully based on the ingredients.  Why then would you purposefully put something into your body that you have no idea what it’s made of?”


She also talked about the dangers of sexting.  In one of her cases, she explained the girl had no idea whom she was sending nude photos to, and one day he just showed up at her house. “We like to think that Oberlin is a bubble where bad things don’t happen, but bad things can happen everywhere,” she said. “When you are online, make sure you know who you are talking to.”


“If you are doing things you wouldn’t do in front of your teachers or your parents, you need to be willing to suffer the consequences,” Ms. Stanley said. “Educate yourself; be aware of what could happen.”


She said that growing up is so different than it was when she was their age. “We didn’t have social media.  We wrote notes to each other and talked face to face. We looked out for each other. It’s not like that today.”


Ms. Stanley also talked about gratitude and integrity.  She asked the students, “What do you want to be remembered as? Choose your friends wisely and be careful to make good choices.”


“If you aren’t like one of these kids I’ve worked with or haven’t gotten into vaping or drinking, be thankful,” she said.


After her presentation, Mrs. Breth sent all students in grades 7-12 a survey.  70 percent said that Ms. Stanley’s presentation was eye opening, while 6 percent said the presentation wasn’t necessary.


 These were some of the comments from the students:


I thought the presentation was a good way to make people understand some of the horrible things that go on in this world that we don't necessarily see. It made me realize how thankful we are to live where we live. I am thankful to be born and raised where I was.


I think people should be scared to vape again.


I really liked the presentation because I know people who think the stuff they do isn't harmful and I am glad that she was talking about vaping and the drug and alcohol abuse. I really liked how she made it very real.


One thing that I took away from the presentation was that I should be grateful for the family that I was born into.


It was just another talk about how bad the world is.


The presentation was really eye opening to me. I learned to be grateful for the life that I have.


I thought the presentation was very necessary, and I think it opened more people's eyes that things do happen in our small town. It is not a bubble that we live in full of perfect people as we would like to imagine. There are scary people here and in this world in general, and I hope the presentation opened more people's eyes.


It was eh, It didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know was happening in the world


I think the presentation was very eye opening for some people that didn't understand that these types of things happen to people all the time, and I think that it showed people that did know about it to always remember it.


One thing I got from the presentation was if you really do need help or you have a problem at home/anywhere get help. It’s okay to express yourself and get help.


I do believe things happen in Oberlin but I think we are misjudging Oberlin as a whole here. Every town always has something going on. The point is that what people try to do to fix it. I think it's only the school's responsibility to control what happens in the school and nothing else.


I thought that the presentation was definitely needed for our school. I hope that the students that are making these bad choices can see really what their future holds if they keep on making those choices. It was very necessary.


I thought the presentation was pretty good. I thought she was going to talk about vaping and drinking more because I think that is the main problem here, but overall it was good.





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