Parents, students dialogue with annual Conversations That Count

Conversations that Count 10-21-15 NS (70)
From left: Seniors William Heck, Peyton Ross, and Carter Dufilho, along with concerned parents and other students discuss the dangers of alcohol and drugs. This was the ninth year that St. Thomas has held the “Conversations that Count” presentation which educates about the dangers of high risk behaviors. Photo by senior Nick Silva

Conversations That Count is a storied event that occurs annually.

The event is hosted by the Choices Program and Campus Ministry department. It is a great way to help prepare people for uncertain choices that life might present to them.

The primary function of Conversations That Count is to give both students and parents knowledge about the dangers of high risk behavior. One of the great aspects of Conversations That Count is that the speakers are very understanding of high school students. They understand that kids want to fit in with the popular crowd, but instead of saying do not do drugs or drink because it will kill you, they give realistic explanations and stories about either their troubles or their kids problems with substances.

This year, there were some new and returning speakers. Former student Will Pinter gave an inspirational speech on his battle with drugs and alcohol and his journey to reach sobriety. Pinter talked both nights and recently gave a speech to the Dad’s Club. He started his story at the beginning of freshman year where Pinter first started experimenting with alcohol.

Pinter explained to the audience about how his family life was severely strained by his abusive habits. He also recalled about his time as a small time drug dealer, barely making enough money to get by. Then he enlightened us about his time at rehab, and Pinter is now nine months sober.

After Pinter’s speech, the next speaker was Brian Hughes. Hughes attended last year as a guest speaker as well. And for anyone who has not been to Conversations That Count, they should seriously consider going next year just to hear Hughes’ testimony about the dangers of alcohol.

Hughes took the audience through his son’s experience with drugs and alcohol and how they changed the way he and everyone else knew his son, as a happy kid. He informed the parents of the dangers of not going through their child’s phone.

The main idea to take away from his speech is that no matter how bad the situation might be, your parents would rather you tell them outright and live with consequences, rather than seeing their child go before their very eyes.

After every speech, students and parents alike sit around a table and have meaningful conversations about the topic at hand.

Whether the discussion is about drugs or street racing, the impact it has on both parents and students is quite profound.

The actual conversations that take place are led by a senior leader. They help facilitate the direction and speaking time of the participants. There is equal time for both parents and students to speak so that one is not dominating the other.

A great aspect of these conversations as well is that there is no pressure if someone wants to talk about their experience with these behaviors.

Whether it might be their best friend or family member, the dialogues are always positive and non-judgmental.

Sophomore Brad Delia experienced his first Conversations That Count this year.

“It was good to go and listen to the situations that other people experienced and now, if I ever find myself in those predicaments, I can properly conduct myself.”

-Brad Delia, Sophomore

Conversations That Count is highly recommended and it is encouraged that you attend.

This is one of the most somber events we hold, but no other event will put your life into perspective and give you realistic advice for improving it.

Will, or as most people refer to him as "that kid who drives the Prius." Once in the second grade, Will wrote to the Houston Zoo about the Okapi exhibit to complain how the tree stump in the middle of the exhibit was disrupting the Okapi's daily life. Needless to say, the zookeeper had no idea what Will was talking about.