Thursday, April 7, 2005

School program warns students about drugs

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

John Engstrom, Trevor Baker and Tre’ Stallings brought a strong message to Potts Camp School students on March 24 — stay away from drugs and alcohol.

The program was coordinated by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Engstrom, a former Ole Miss basketball player, is District II field representative for FCA.

“Think about the consequences that go along with involvement in drugs and alcohol,” said Engstrom, who opened the 45-minute program in the auditorium. “Kids want to be cool; they don’t see the negative side. Drugs and alcohol can ruin your life. They seep into every part of your life and rot away your life.”

Engstrom said that while in high school he lived his life in a way that other young people knew he was not going to get involved with drugs and alcohol.

“I never put myself in those situations,” he said. “If those things were going on, I wasn’t going to be there.

“Stand up for what you believe. Tell others that you’re not going to mess with that stuff.”

Baker, a former junior college football player, said he stayed away from drugs and alcohol while growing up because his mom and dad “put the fear” in him.

Then later on family problems had an adverse affect on his life, and while in college, he started going to parties and getting involved with the wrong crowd.

“I figured if I was going to be a ‘big man,’ I better start trying this stuff,” Baker said. “I tried a little here and there, and it escalated.”

He said he went on to the University of Southern Mississippi, and his life with drugs and alcohol worsened.

“I tried out for football there, but I couldn’t cut it,” Baker said. “I lost 50 pounds. I drank it off. I was killing myself. I went from a 4.0 (grade point average) to a 3.0. Every morning I woke up, I was lost. I had to get a beer, and it made me feel better for an hour or two. I was hurting myself health-wise.”

He said he wasted three or four years of his life “chasing that stuff,” and it included going to jail and paying fines because of a DUI ticket.

“Hey, it’s illegal,” Baker told the Potts Camp students. “That’s the number one reason not to do it. And it can take your life.”

He begged the students to take the message they were hearing seriously.

“I made the decision to change,” Baker said. “I became a Christian; that’s how I beat it. I was falling quickly, and I finally used my head.”

Stallings is a standout football player at the University of Mississippi. The 6’4”, 317-pound offensive lineman said he had never dealt with alcohol and drugs but he had seen it among his friends.

“I stayed away from it,” he said.

He said his biggest influence was his dad – who was 6’6” and 310 pounds and played football at USM and then in the National Football League.

“I was scared of my dad,” Stallings said. “He was a big influence in my life.”

But then in high school, he said he was somewhat blinded by his dad and the steady flow of cars going to and from his house. He was shocked to find out his dad was involved with drugs.

“I was hurt,” Stallings said. “I never confronted my dad about it. My junior year in high school my dad was arrested for drugs. It crushed me, but I learned from it.”

He said today his dad is a preacher.

“He has turned his life around,” said Stallings, with a big smile.

He told the students they can choose two paths – the straight and narrow or the wide open path.

“Take the narrow path,” Stallings said, “the path that’s harder. You don’t want the easy path. You need to work for it.

“College is a totally different atmosphere (from high school). Hold up on your own. Be your own person. Do what’s right.”


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