December 5th, 2011
Seniors anxiously assembled into the theatre on Monday, November 14th during first period to hear Teen Truth Live speaker Michael Sarich warn them of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. He talked to seniors, juniors, and freshmen, each at a separate assembly. Students receive anti-drug and alcohol talks every year, but this one had a different spin on the subject.
As Sarich aimed to quiet the last few whispers that remained in the theatre at 8:30 AM, his loud voice immediately silenced the senior class. No one was quite sure what to expect. Would it be the usual talk from someone who witnessed drug and alcohol abuse? Would it have the same message to get us to make the right choices on the weekends?
“I was just expecting to get a bunch of stats and facts about drug use,” said senior Karly Loberg.
Sarich started off by presenting at 22-minute video created by Teen Truth Live. “This was the second video made by this program that I saw. I thought the first one changed my life, but this very movie you are about to watch, it definitely changed me completely,” said Sarich, right before the lights turned off and the movie began.
The video was a documentary-type film showing various teens and adults who had suffered from abuses of substances from alcohol, to marijuana, to cocaine. It included graphic images of people who had died from drug use, as well as before-and-after photos of people who had started to become addicted to hard drugs. Photos of people losing whole heads of hair and full sets of teeth flashed before the students’ eyes. The movie depicted teenagers enjoying themselves at a party with a beer in hand, and adults destroying their lives by picking up that one joint, or that one needle.
Towards the end of the video, the entire room heard a real 911 phone call from two adults who were high on crystal meth. As Sarich described it, hearing the call made him “sick to his stomach.”
As the video ended, with a powerful quote about how “we won’t be seventeen for the rest of our lives,” Sarich greeted a very somber senior class who was beginning to be forced to think about the choices of themselves and those around them.
He began by sharing his life story, with little details about his high school experience and his goal to become a pitcher in the Major Leagues. With each sentence, his life got seemingly worse. He told us, in great detail, how he paved the way for his drug addiction by his late teen years. It took him two deaths and a few broken relationships for him to finally change.
“The video was inferior to his speech about his life experiences,” said senior Brad Tyler. “It definitely made me think.”
With his talk, Sarich aimed for students to realize that anyone can fall out of line and abuse drugs and alcohol. He specifically addressed the senior class by reminding them that next year, seniors will be living on their own and making their own choices, and each choice they make today can and will affect them tomorrow.
“It was relatable because we heard first-hand stories rather than random statistics,” said senior Kirstie Sorenson.
Clearly, his first-hand account of being an addict at a younger age affected some members of the senior class and the rest of the Cathedral community.
As Principal Mike Deely said as the seniors left the theatre, “Remember that we have the resources to help you or a friend at this school. Don’t be afraid to seek help.”
Article by Jaci Matter © Copyright 2011 El Cid. All Rights Reserved.
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