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Responsible teens deserve recognition for choices

I read a story in a Seattle newspaper written by an articulate senior in high school. She wrote she and some friends were wondering what to do on a Friday night when one of the group got a text inviting them to another friend’s house to “watch a movie.”

Upon arrival, there were significantly more kids there than expected, no parents, and the first question was, “wanna beer?” She said there were a lot of kids and a lot of red cups. She and her friends declined the beer, stayed briefly and headed home.

She explained it was a rainy night, and she had to drop off two of her friends in a nearby suburb. As she came off the expressway entrance ramp and began picking up speed, she saw, from the corner of her eye, movement on the road ahead.

She immediately began to slow and pull over. The figure, she said, was a woman who appeared to have fallen partly in the road. Her friends called the police while our young friend helped the woman off the road.

They waited until the police and an ambulance arrived. While they waited, she noticed how many of the other cars sped down the ramp and onto the expressway without slowing. She said she could only think that if she had made the choice to have the beer or two (or more), she might not have had the reflexes necessary to make the stop and avoid the woman.

Even if she hadn’t hit her, she might not have bothered to stop, thinking she might get in trouble, and some harm might have come to the woman.

Her conclusion was her actions went far beyond just her. Her decision to decline the alcohol not only affected her but her friends, the woman in the road and ultimately the community. She has been asked to speak to the city council and help with a campaign in her area to reduce teen drinking.

I don’t think we hear enough about young people who are responsible, making good choices and giving back to the community.

• Rick Atwater is a licensed clinical professional counselor.

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