Wednesday morning at the Greensburg Adult Center, nine senior students from North Decatur and South Decatur Junior/Senior High Schools and Greensburg Community High School answered questions presented by Adult Center director Jerry Schwendenmann.
Around 35 senior citizens attended the panel to hear the young students speak about social trends and issues and young peoples’ opinions of Decatur County.
Schwendenmann opened the panel by asking if the students felt the “no texting” laws were fair.
All of the students agreed that the laws were fair, and that texting is a huge distraction and lead to avoidable injuries. A couple of the students had stories which illustrated their experiences of either having near accidents because of texting, or having known someone who died.
One student suggested that cars be installed with devices which remove the ability to receive texts while the vehicle is in motion. All the students agreed that the laws need to be enforced in a better capacity.
Facebook inspired much more conversation when Schwendenmann asked how the students felt about the lack of privacy on Facebook.
The response was varied, ranging from “I don’t like it” to “It’s good to keep in contact.”
Nearly all the students agreed that Facebook can be good and bad, and the outcomes of Facebook depend on how people use the tool.
Some of the students have parents who use Facebook as advertisement for businesses, and another student said she had made the most money for her Maverick Challenge project by using Facebook.
Regarding the negatives of social media, online bullying was acknowledged as a problem, as well as the habit of people posting content that is too personal or of no value.
Many relationship problems arise, one student said, because communication online lacks face-to-face interaction, which loses tone and feeling and leads to misunderstandings.
The Adult Center director changed topics by asking what impact the students felt Honda Manufacturing had on the Decatur County community. He also asked if the students felt that they would like to raise a family in the area and if they planned to return after college.
With a variety of life plans, there were a variety of answers.
Several students have plans to move to city areas because Decatur County does not have many opportunities for art, music, fashion or legal careers, they said. Others with interests in animal care said they would return because opportunities in that vocation are more readily available.
All of the students said Honda is a great asset to the community, and that Honda had provided their families with jobs in light of the abysmal job market.
All the panelists said they love the community, and several referred to Decatur County as a “big family.” The students said they had always felt safe, and would like to raise a family in Decatur County when the time came.
Within the discussion of safety in Decatur County, the statistic was provided that Decatur County ranks second in Indiana for meth labs.
The students did not feel differently about living in Decatur County.
The statistic gave rise to the next question; Did the students feel drugs were a problem in Decatur County?
The students from North Decatur and Greensburg said that they were aware of others doing marijuana, but had for the most part, not witnessed a large problem.
Kaeli Fong of Greensburg, said that she had personal experience losing a friendship because a friend had started using marijuana, She stated she feels drugs are a waste.
The two students from South Decatur (Chelsi Gilbert and Josh Miller) said they felt that drugs in Decatur County are a huge problem, likely because they were in a smaller school and saw the effect more easily.
“I know what goes on,” said Josh Miller of South Decatur, and many of the students nodded in agreement.
Following the discussion on drug use, Jerry asked how the students were looking toward the future.
Many of the students are a bit skeptical but still optimistic about their futures. The students expressed concern that communication skills are being lost because of social media and technology addictions.
Nick Gehrich of North Decatur, referred to the world as “Pandora’s Box,” and that there is always hope at the bottom of the tragedies that people hear about and witness daily.
Finishing the panel, Schwendenmann asked if the students felt there is a lack of respect for authority.
All of the students agreed that there is a horrible lack of respect for authority. The students also agreed that respect is received when respect is given, and that disrespect is given from any age. Disrespect, they countered, is likely learned because of how an individual was raised.
Following the panel, several of the audience members stood and thanked the nine young people for their answers, and said that with Decatur County in the hands of such good-natured and intelligent youth, good things were sure to happen.
Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7001