By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Miss Tennessee Caty Davis visited Ocoee Middle School on Monday to talk to students about substance abuse and how her family has been affected by addiction. During school assemblies held …
Miss Tennessee Caty Davis visited Ocoee Middle School on Monday to talk to students about substance abuse and how her family has been affected by addiction.
During school assemblies held throughout the morning, she recounted how her father and other members of her family struggled with this "generational curse."
She urged the students to resist peer pressure to use drugs and stressed that they can be positive examples for their younger siblings and peers.
"Whether you realize it or not, they are looking up to you," Davis said. "And if you say no to drug use one day, it can make it easier for those around you to say no."
Her visit to the school was sponsored by ATS The Bridge, a local organization which works to prevent addiction and help those already affected by it.
Reba Terry, executive director of ATS The Bridge, said Miss Tennessee's visit was especially beneficial, because it showed the students that anyone can be affected by addiction.
"One thing she said was, 'Miss Tennessee has not always had a fairytale life,'" Terry said.
Davis is in the process of traveling the state to share her story. Though a reigning Miss Tennessee normally speaks a particular character trait, she has chosen to speak about an issue she feels is extremely important to address.
She added Gov. Bill Haslam has been really supportive of this message, because he recognizes Tennessee has a problem with opioid abuse.
"These are conversations we need to be having," said Davis.
As she has shared details of what it was like growing up with a father partaking in substance abuse, many students have come up to her afterward to share their personal stories. She has encouraged them to reach out to adults they trust, and she believes this has led to many helpful conversations in homes and in schools.
OMS Principal Ron Spangler expressed his thanks to ATS The Bridge and Davis for helping add to the conversation at the local school.
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