Greenhill will host a drug and alcohol awareness seminar for all Upper School students on March 3. The event will take place during an F-Day assembly, and Greenhill alumnus Will Hoffman ’09 along with Addison Police Officer Kascie Smith will speak about the risks of certain dangerous behaviors, including alcohol abuse, addiction and the legal repercussions of drinking or doing drugs as a minor.
Will Hoffman, a recovered alcoholic, will share his experiences with drug and alcohol abuse and how it became almost fatal to him. He now works to educate different groups about alcohol abuse using his own past experiences.
This year’s seminar is a continuation of a drug abuse talk Greenhill provided in 2015. Prior to that meeting, the Parent’s Association (PA) hosted an event about parents’ role in educating their children about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. At the PA meeting, Will Hoffman’s name came up and plans were made to have him speak with the parents as well as the students.
Part of the reason different administrators like Upper School Dean of Students Jack Oros wanted Will to speak was that he is only eight years older than most current seniors.
“I think it is important to hear from alums, and alums who are close to your age. We can’t have someone that is so far removed from your generation tell you about alcohol. [Will] is a typical Greenhill kid,” Mr. Oros said.
Mr. Oros worked hand in hand with Upper School Counselor Priya Singhvi to make this happen and educate the student body about the issue.
“Our primary job as a school is to raise awareness and educate. I want to make sure from one end, from the legal perspective, that everyone here is educated,” said Ms. Singhvi.
Although Will was contacted by the PA, other personal experiences led him to Friday’s assembly.
“Since I’ve been sober, I was taught that you say “yes” when asked to be of service in whatever situation. If I’m available and someone asks for my assistance, I have a responsibility to show up and give my time,” said Will. “People have allocated a significant portion of their time when saying “yes” to help me. I have a sense of duty to do the same.”
Some of this education includes learning about the legal ramifications of risky behaviors, such as underage drinking and prescription drug abuse. According to Ms. Singhvi, it is also important for students in the Upper School to understand how different laws affect them since Upper School students range in age from 13 to 19.
Will plans to focus on his personal story in the hopes that a Greenhill student will be able to relate to his story.
“I hope someone can relate to my story. Not the circumstances but rather the feelings and emotions,” said Will. “When I’m able to relate to another person’s feelings, I connect on a level that impacts me in some way. That then gives me the awareness to make a change in my life.”
For some administrators, this event is important because it tackles a topic not commonly discussed on Greenhill’s campus.
“We don’t talk about this enough. We talk about it in Wellness, maybe in advisory or English class, but any opportunity where we have a captive audience where people are willing to listen is an opportunity to teach,” Ms. Singhvi said.
The approach will be multi-faceted and students will have opportunities to ask questions to Will, Officer Smith, Mr. Oros and Ms. Singvhi.
“You never know what will resonate with kids the most. So, we are trying to make this a multi-faceted approach to reach out to all the students,” Ms. Singhvi said.
The assembly on Friday is more than just a teaching opportunity to Ms. Singhvi; it is time where Greenhill can have an impactful legacy on student’s lives.
“I would hate for any kid to end up with a poor permanent decision because they said I didn’t know better. I will do everything in my power to change that,” she said.
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