When Columbia County Chief Magistrate Wade Padgett embarked on an effort in 2006 to educate teenagers about legal issues they face, he never expected it to become so popular.
In September 2006, Padgett started offering his Teenage Years 101 seminar. The seminar typically includes one class for teens and another for their parents.
"It is one of those things that when you have an idea and when it all comes together, you are much like a proud parent," Padgett said. "It has really been exceeding my wildest dreams as far as what I wanted this to become."
Padgett has given the seminar about 50 times, in nearly all area schools and other public locations.
A seminar for parents of teens will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Augusta Christian Schools gymnasium on Baston Road. The seminar is free and open to the public.
Padgett will give a combination Teenage Years 101 seminar, designed for both teens and parents, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at the Harlem High School auditorium.
After the seminar, Columbia County Community Connections will hold a town hall meeting to discuss underage drinking in Columbia County.
At the seminars, Padgett discusses legal issues and choices that teens face, including some that can send them to prison. He plans to discuss drug and alcohol abuse, drivers' licenses, sex, technology and the consequences for criminal violations.
"One thing I hope that I am doing is planting a seed for further conversation at home, at church, at school, among people who care," Padgett said. "I do not pretend I am going to answer every question they have, but I do think I can make them want to go find out details if that issue is something that applies to them.
"That's what I hope I am doing. I hope I am making people discuss things openly that used to not be discussed in polite conversation."
For more information on Padgett's seminars, or to request one, contact Columbia County Magistrate Court at (706) 868-3316. For information about the Community Connections town hall meeting, call (706) 556-0609.
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