The Duncan Banner
Marlow Middle School students might have inherited new role models as they move toward drug-free lives.
The University of Oklahoma’s wrestling program made an appearance Tuesday at the new gym to talk to students about making wise choices and avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol.
The trio speaking to the students included head coach Mark Cody, assistant coach Michael Lightner and wrestling team member Scott Chené. Lightner is a graduate of Marlow High School, and his mother Becky Lightner is a teacher at Marlow Middle School.
Becky Lightner wanted the OU wrestling team to be represented because it would give students an idea of what can be accomplished by remaining drug and alcohol free. The OU wrestling teammates committ by signing a pledge to not use alcohol or drugs while they are in college or else they are released from the team.
“They (wrestling students) sign a contract and their parents sign a contract,” Cody said. “They know that it’s a privilege to be here.”
Cody said the pledge is more than just a word of honor. It’s about the students setting on the correct path and living a lifestyle that best represents what they are capable of. In all, there are 34 guys on the wrestling team.
Each of the students give permission to have random drug and alcohol screenings. Cody said word of mouth is also a powerful tool.
“They want to be successful,” Cody said. “Grade-wise, it’s helped us out. They perform better in the classroom, not just on the mat.”
Their interaction with the Marlow Middle School students is the fourth talk with Oklahoma students they’ve done this year. Cody said middle school is a good time to start talking about drugs and alcohol because it can help get ahead of the curve.
“The kids at this level get it,” he said. “It’s a good time to talk to them. They have choices.”
During the program, Chené talked to the students about making the best decisions because all decisions could have a lasting effect on their lives.
“The decisions you make now can affect your entire life,” Chené said. “Stay strong. Stay healthy. Discipline will get you so far.”
Chené said students could get support from their parents, teachers and other adults if they felt they were struggling through some of their decisions.
Michael Lightner told the students they should take pride in the tradition of success in Marlow and aim to follow the path in front of them.
“It’s about making the right choices,” Lightner said. “They can take you away from your goal of being great. Stay true to your goals
“Stay Outlaws. Stay motivated.”