Lowcountry students take a ride on the 'Choice Bus'

The Choice Bus (John Gaddy/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Students in Charleston County got a firsthand look at the importance of finishing their education Thursday afternoon.{}

The Choice Bus visited seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders at St. Johns High School, Haut Gap Advanced Studies Magnet and Baptist Hill Middle High School.{}

The bus is sponsored by State Farm and the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation and is a mix between a classroom and a jail cell.{}{}

On the classroom side, the students watched a video and heard startling statistics about the consequences of dropping out of school.{}

For example, on average, people with diplomas make $1 million more over their lifetime than dropouts.{}

The jail side of the bus is a demonstration modeled after a real prison cell, equipped with metal bars and bunk beds, giving students a glimpse into the life they're likely to lead if they drop out of school.{}

"That's a concrete, real stark example of what can happen if they do not finish," said Haut Gap Principal Andrea Gadsden. "They made a 'woah' sound, and that was a great eye-opener for them."{}

The Choice Bus is the nation's first mobile experience dedicated to reducing the dropout rate.