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State dignitaries visit Southside High School

Pictured, left to right: State Rep. Stu Smith, state Sen. James Sturch, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Stacy Taylor with CRDC

Multiple State dignitaries visited with Southside High School students Monday morning and spoke on the topic of “Rising Above Alcohol and Drugs” also known as RAAD and “Take Your Legislature to School Month.”

State Rep. Stu Smith, state Sen. James Sturch, and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge addressed students at the Monday morning assembly along with Stacy Taylor of the  Crowley’s Ridge Development Council (CRDC).

The speakers shared stories and tips on how to be successful and overcome the peer pressures students face in their everyday lives that could lead to the use of drugs and/or alcohol.

Smith encouraged the students to “…surround yourself with good people, surround yourself with good friends,” noting that the individuals they associate with have a major impact on personal choices.

Sturch shared three bits of wisdom that lead to a successful path. Sturch told students to remember that nothing worth having comes without hard work, to plan to work and then work their plan and be successful. Stuch finished in saying, “I hope you find you’re own level of success.”

“True success is not how much money you have in the bank or how big your house is or how many clothes you can stuff in a closet. True success is being able to do something for someone else who may never be able to return the favor. All they may be able to do is say, ‘Thank you.’ True success is what you can do by giving up of yourself to help other people,” he said.

Rutledge then took to the stage and shared many bits of wisdom and a personal story that tied alcohol usage to the loss of a loved one.

“During those times of peer pressure and frustration and loneliness and feeling like you don’t fit in…Somebody at school says ‘Here take this,’ or ‘Let’s go drink.’ Now vaping is a big deal…I’ve never heard someone say they want to be a drunk. Nobody grows up and says they want to be a drug addict. It’s about choices, making good choices,” Rutledge said.

Wrapping up the presentation, Stacy Taylor with CRDC spoke with students about the many effects of drug and alcohol usage.


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