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Letter to the editor: Students 'Have to Choose'

October 13, 2010 - Dear editor,

Judge Julie A. Nicholson of the 52-3 District Court presented the "Have to Choose" program at Lake Orion High School Sept. 23 and will present the same program at Rochester, Rochester Adams, Stoney Creek, and Oxford high schools later this year.

Judge Nicholson instituted the program, which focuses on helping high school students make making healthy life choices, in 2005.

During the hour-long presentation, Judge Nicholson emphasizes the long-term consequences in making many of life's toughest decisions. The "Have to Choose" presentation is an outgrowth from Judge Nicholson's Court in the Schools Program which she has been presenting to middle schools in the 52nd-3rd District Court's jurisdiction for the past 15 years. The Court's jurisdiction includes the cities of Rochester Hills, Rochester, Auburn Hills and Lake Angelus, the townships of Orion, Oxford, Addison and Oakland, and the villages of Lake Orion, Leonard and Oxford. The "Have to Choose" program ends with a seven minute video recounting the life and tragic death of 2008 Rochester Adams graduate, Noah Johnston. In July of 2008, Noah died after snorting a lethal dose of heroin. Noah's father, Pete Johnston, accompanies Judge Nicholson and speaks directly to the students in the hope that his tragedy will prevent young adults from making the same choices made by his son.

-Michele Novak

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