ANNIE J LISOWSKI March 14, 2023
A day of prevention education just for graduating seniors took place on March 14, 2023, at Cochrane-Fountain City School. Buffalo County Senior Day, sponsored by the Buffalo County Partnership Council, is an opportunity for graduating students across Buffalo County to think critically about potential risk behaviors from local speakers. The event centered considering the consequences of one’s choices related to the use of alcohol and drugs. Twelfth graders from Alma, Gilmanton, Mondovi, and Cochrane-Fountain City schools all participated.
Buffalo County Sheriff Mike Osmond spoke to graduating students about many of the results of poor choices he has observed as a law enforcement officer. He shared professional experiences related to the illegal use of meth, heroin and fentanyl. The Sheriff told graduating seniors that as mature young adults they need to know that marijuana can stay in your system for weeks and any trace of drugs can result in arrest if there is a death involved. Osmond shared real life photos from Buffalo County and the surrounding local region. He encouraged students to report individuals and situations that endanger children by placing them in the harm of drugs. Finally, Sheriff Osmond reminded students the risks of sharing nude photos and videos with strangers or peers.
Shane Urness is also an integral part of Buffalo County Partnership Council’s Senior Day. For more than a decade, Urness has shared about the day he doesn’t remember, but will never forget. He tells more about the total impact that resulted from poor choices he made in rural Gilmanton in 2004. Urness spoke genuinely and candidly to high school seniors about the real-life consequences associated with drinking and driving. Urness told students about the physical, emotional, and financial pain he endures because of his decision to get behind the wheel after a night of heavy drinking. As a result, Urness does not call the event an accident. He names it what it was – a crash. He reminds students that he made the intentional decision to drink alcohol. He tells seniors he gives his presentation because he doesn’t want anyone to be in his situation or to feel the grief him, his victims and their families endure every day. Urness’ story is a powerful one that silences the auditorium and encourages students to truly consider the multitude of consequences that could follow a young adult for their entire life if they choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Keynote speaker Mike McGowan, who has been a staple at Senior Day for two decades, was unexpectantly unable to make it. There are plans underway to reschedule his presentation.
Buffalo County Senior Day was made possible in part by a donation from the Tony Myren family and a student mini grant from the Department of Public Instruction. The Buffalo County Partnership Council is a youth-adult coalition that works to influence people and policy through prevention efforts.
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