The perils of drugs and alcohol were the topic of conversation at Bradenton Christian School on Thursday. But crowns were discussed as well, the crown being the one worn by Courtney Sexton as she talked to the middle school and high school students about addiction.
While diadems may not be standard attire during a school assembly, Sexton’s status as Miss Florida 2016 explains her headware, and it helps explain the students’ enthusiasm for the guest speaker.
Sexton’s Thursday morning chapel address at Bradenton Christian touched on the heroin epidemic, medical marijuana, Florida’s Good Samaritan Law and the physical effects of drugs and alcohol.
“It starts slowly, but addiction begins to creep, and to creep into someone’s mind,” Sexton said. “And because it is a disease, it needs to be treated by professionals.”
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Her presentation got a lively response from the student body who urged for her to keep speaking beyond the bell.
“She’s really inspirational and really pretty,” said Makenna Hermann, 14, eager for a photo with Sexton after the talk.
Sexton showed students a portion of a documentary featuring college students thinking they were drunk even though they had been served non-alcoholic beer. She said the clip showed that the fun associated with drinking is more in the mind than in reality. And she talked to students about the heroin epidemic, describing a batch of heroin laced with elephant tranquilizer that resulted in several deaths.
Sexton said many of her friends in high school used and abused drugs, but she didn’t know who to talk to at the time. She encouraged students to reach out to her via social media if they wanted to talk about addiction more in-depth.
After the talk, Sexton said she did not specifically tailor her talk for a religious school because students at Bradenton Christian face the same set of temptations as students in public schools.
“No matter what school you go to, no matter what your religious affiliation is, or your culture, many people struggle with it,” Sexton said. “It can’t be something we just push to the side and hope they don’t do that.”
Dayton Modderman, 17, agreed, saying he knew students at Bradenton Christian who were struggling with addiction and religious schools were not immune to the problem.
“Our school needed to hear that,” Modderman said. “It doesn’t just happen at public schools down the street, it goes on in the most private places like Christian schools or even churches.”