Students had a BLAST on Saturday

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By Jesse Osbourne



Over 120 students had a blast on Saturday at North Washington Elementary School.

BLAST is an acronym for “better lives and safer towns,” and this year students learned from Kentucky author Leigh Anne Florence, who writes  the “Woody Book” series.
Florence brought along Woody, who is featured in a reoccurring newspaper story called “Unleashed.”
Woody is one of six dogs that Florence and her husband, Ron, have at home in Shepherdsville.
When Florence went to adopt Woody, the previous owner said the dog was the runt of the litter and would never amount to anything.
Florence’s message was multi-faceted, but she emphasized that a small-town country boy or girl could grow up to accomplish his or her dreams.
The author laced Kentucky facts throughout her presentation, such as the number of counties in the state (120) and the governor (Steve Beshear).
Students were taught about keeping a positive attitude, taking responsibility for actions and education, showing respect to others (and using yes ma’am and yes sir when talking to adults), showing determination, staying healthy and taking care of your body.
Florence also shared that she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), something that affects her ability to walk, her vision, her ability to grip and her speech. Sometimes, she said, she can’t feel her legs.
The doctors told her that the rest of her life will be like a roller coaster, with ups and downs. As she gets older, the doctors told her, there will be more downs.
Florence said her life was like a roller coaster before she was diagnosed, so MS wouldn’t be that much different.
She added that one day, if she’s confined to a wheel chair, her life won’t be over. She’ll still be able to play with her dogs and play the piano, which are two things she loves.
The author also asked the students to never try drugs, alcohol or tobacco products.
While someone may think, “It’s just one cigarette, it won’t hurt anything,” Florence argued that every addiction begins with just one.
She cited that if seven people that had never tasted alcohol went out for a night of drinking, at least one of those seven would become an alcoholic. She urged the students not to take the first drink.
When Florence’s session ended, the students filed out for other sessions, but not before giving Woody, the famous dog, a gentle pat on the head.