Interact Club guest speaker discusses importance of choices


Submitted by Marcela Sample

Interact Club Guest Speaker Darlene Drew poses with the Interact Club President Caleb Warnock, and club members Ashley Osborne and Thomas Cummings. Drew led the meeting with a speech about making choices, and personal anecdotes of her job as a warden.

Saijleen Chawla, Staff Writer

On Oct. 31, Interact Club introduced the consequences of poor decision making with the help of their guest speaker Darlene Drew. The ability to make good choices and avoid a lack of judgement is something that is important to the development of students and beyond.

Drew is the owner and CEO of Leadership Conditioning, personal and professional development LLC. She’s a certified coach, speaker, and trainer. She has also served as a warden for three different facilities over an 11 year period. She is the first female to serve as a warden in United States Penitentiary, so she has first-hand knowledge of the repercussions of poorly made decisions.

Drew began the speech discussing her tasks as a warden working at the penitentiaries, a facility confining convicts of felony offences and how limited choice was there.

“There were choices that no longer exist for individuals,” Drew said.

With the help of Interact Club President Caleb Warnock, she defined a choice as the ability to select something out of a few different options. Afterwards, she discussed the various kinds of choices that one could possibly make, from serious to more superficial.

Drew was very interactive with her audience. She had three students choose a card with a quote written, and explain the reasoning behind the choice. One student chose the card with a quote, “The choices you make make you.” This led to a oral tour of her job as a warden and penitentiary.

“We make [the inmates’] choices,” Drew said. “We tell them them every time they call count, they will stand.”

She demonstrated the seriousness of the count time, simulating a similar situation where the audience members were told to stand beside their desks. Even a simple mistake such as standing behind a desk would get the punishment of a special housing facility.

In order to resonate with her high school audience, she told a story of an 18-year-old boy named Jackson, whose drug use led him to a 30-year sentence for murder. Presently, Jackson has been going to school, and working on improving his life, and making better choices.

Interact Club graciously thanked Drew for her time by gifting her chocolates and a thoughtful card signed by all the Interact Club members. She hopes to return with a follow up speech that would be more directed to the members of Interact Club, and the changes they have made in the choices that they made since.

The next club meeting will be held at 8 a.m. on Nov. 29 in Marcela Sample’s room 643.