GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Every day, high school students will make choices: who to be friends with, what classes to take in school, what to eat for lunch, and even what to post on social media.
Those choices have the power to affect the rest of their lives, which is why the Atlantic County Coalition for a Safe Community decided to center its second annual teen summit on making good choices.
More than 150 students from 11 high schools in Atlantic County participated Thursday in the iChoose Teen Summit at Stockton University. The summit focused on mindfulness, healthy living and circles of influence.
Atlantic County Institute of Technology student Steven Gaskill said the presentation gave him a better perspective on how prepared he is for his future.
“They were talking about perception and how people see you. And how you should hold yourself to a higher standard,” said Gaskill, 18, of Mays Landing.
He said he was impressed with the idea of branding himself and “checking off all the boxes that make you better.”
Speakers included Absegami High School graduate and entrepreneur Cheldin Barlatt Rumer. Rumer admitted that she was glad social media didn’t exist when she was growing up. She said students need to consider the image of themselves portrayed through social media and how that will affect the rest of their lives.
“Are you putting out there in the world things that will get you what you want?” she asked the students.
Other break-out sessions included Friday is Tie Day founder Darrell Edmunds and author Ralph Graves.
Denise Manino, a detective with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, told the students to be mindful of their choices.
“You don’t want to ruin your future by making a dumb decision,” she said.
Flor Rosalis-Euceda, 18, of Egg Harbor Township, said the summit helped her see her choices in a new way.
“It will definitely give us all different vibes and different ways of thinking,” Rosalis-Euceda said. “You can always change.”
The summit was organized by Mastermind Leadership Studio in Galloway. CEO and founder Michael Bult said that this event was the successful beginning of a community transformation project his business is working on.
“I think it went definitely beyond our expectations. Just getting feedback from the students and hearing some of the practical strategies and thoughts that they had taken away was pretty powerful,” Bult said.