HomeShamong NewsEighth graders learn from inmates how to stay out of trouble

Eighth graders learn from inmates how to stay out of trouble

We are always told to learn from our mistakes; but yesterday the eighth grade class of Indian Mills Memorial School got a rare opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others. Mrs. Cathy Campeau, the eighth grade language arts teacher and coordinator for all eighth grade activities has made this event a tradition before our students move on to Seneca High School in the fall.

Each year, the state of New Jersey offers schools a program where they bring young prison inmates into an academic setting to tell their story. It is an effective form of pre-intervention. The hope is that by exposing students to the consequences of bad choices, more students can be rescued from a similar fate.

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Four current inmates, all in their early 20s, told their story, highlighting the events that led to their current situation. They emphasized their failure to listen to the advice of others; their punishment; and, the decisions they would now make if they had the chance to live through it again. It was a somber and moving experience for the eighth grade class.

Mrs. Campeau remarked, when asked about the benefit of Project PRIDE stated, “If one student is saved through this program, I’ll be happy. It is something we all hear about and tell ourselves, it can never happen to me or to my students.”

From the looks on the faces of the students of IMMS, it is clear the event met its objective. More than one student was heard to say that they did not realize how easy it was to fall into a trap that led to prison; and they certainly did not was to follow that example.

Special thanks go to the Department of Corrections for the State of New Jersey for keeping this special event alive.

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