By Isabel Correa
We are less than a week away from the most exciting time for seniors enrolled in high school across the nation, national college decision day. This unofficial holiday, but most anticipated holiday takes place on May 1 and is important for high school seniors because it marks the deadline for students to place their college deposits for the colleges they wish to attend.
Wethersfield High School is no different, college fever has spread amongst the seniors and as the graduation date of June 22 is approaching I have one question for the graduating seniors: What will you miss about Wethersfield High School?
By Elena Lapa
With summer approaching fast, as well as the junior and senior proms, the Wethersfield Volunteer Ambulance Association in conjunction with the Wethersfield Fire and Police Departments staged a mock car accident with staff and student actors to show students at Wethersfield High School the dangers of distracted driving.
The entire school was witness to the production on April 23 on a brisk morning. There were two motor vehicles smashed into each other, one car containing a mother and son who were hit by an oncoming car with four passengers in which the driver was intoxicated. Senior Jane Rumley, the actor in the passenger seat, passed away because the driver of the car decided to make the wrong choices. One bad choice made by the driver (played by junior Jarrett Livingston) caused so much chaos not only in the victims lives, but their families and friends as well.
The goal of the mock car crash was to help bring awareness to students to help them make the right decisions and to think twice about being distracted while driving.
During the incident,Wethersfield Fire Chief Richard Bailey spoke to juniors and seniors to help them understand that this could happen to any of you if you make the wrong decisions. He wanted to speak directly to the crowd to help them to understand what can occur if you make the wrong choices while driving.
As the Wethersfield Fire Department was breaking apart the car to get each victim out, Chief Bailey spoke to the students and said, “You could be the one in that vehicle. You could be the one in that body bag or on that stretcher. Think twice before you get behind the wheel.”
Senior Lily Langdon described the scene as “Very overwhelming. This whole thing has become eye opening to see how law enforcement responds after an accident.”
This mock car crash is something that is very real and can happen to anyone. Adnan Fejzic described it as, “Something that started off as a joke, turned real in just a matter of seconds.”
Mrs. Kelly Clark, the assistant chief in Wethersfield, followed by her team, spoke about what the mock car crash was meant for. It was in that room where the juniors and seniors became silent and began to understand why this is such a serious matter. It is important to understand that this exercise will be used as a lesson to use good judgement, and to not drive distracted. None of us want to see our friends get pulled out in a body bag, and none of us want to be in that body bag. It’s up to us to try and make the right choices not just for ourselves but for everyone around us as well.
For more information on distracted driving, see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website on the subject at: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving
Stay safe while driving, Eagles!
By Jackie Reategui and Almira Beganovic
Jacqueline and Almira had interviewed a couple of our WHS classmates on their opinion of advisory and here are our questions with their responses:
1. How has advisory helped you in anyway?
Fatija: It’s a good source of useful information. But I’m not sure it has helped me.
2. How can we change advisory?
Fatija: Have more relevant activities to do.
Tatiana: Stuff related to what the grades actually care about.
By Bryce Cox
Wethersfield High School students attended a heroin and opioid awareness assembly during periods 1 and 3 on April 3, 2018. This assembly was made possible by HEAT (Heroin Education Action Team); guest speakers Carolyn Ikari and Vanessa Avery, assistant US attorneys, and Reverend Williams, father of Jesse Williams, a victim of an oxycodone overdose.
Ikari first addressed the significance of opioid and heroin addictions. In 2017/2018, overdose was the top cause of accidental death, rocketing above the number of fatalities that were the result of car crashes, suicides, and homicides combined. Opioid and heroin substances are becoming more easily available due to exposure at concerts, parties, etc. as well as their continual appearance in counterfeit drugs.
One of the biggest problems stressed with the production of counterfeit drugs is not only the simplicity of the process, but the fact that in some cases, the seller is not aware of what he is selling.
While only 25% of opioid users use pills from their own prescriptions, 55% obtain them from friends or relatives.
The abuse of these prescription drugs is often due to their “perceived legitimacy” and availability, as is the case with oxycodone, one of the most addictive drugs available.
Oxycodone is a pain killer that, when taken even slightly more than the amount prescribed, can quickly form a serious and sometimes lethal addiction. Oxycodone is made even more dangerous by its vast availability, as it is often prescribed to people of all ages and can be found in medicine cabinets, making it easily accessible.
“[In Connecticut] 3 people died yesterday, 3 people will die today, and 3 people will die tomorrow.” Guest speaker, Reverend Williams celebrated the 11th anniversary of his son’s death today on April 3. He lost, not only his son, but his sister to an oxycodone overdose. Drug addiction is a serious issue which many people, including high schoolers, are often susceptible to. 1 in 5 high school seniors have admitted to drug misuse at least once in their life, and misusers aren’t necessarily the students with difficult home lives or bad grades but frankly quite the opposite.
Drug addictions, as mentioned previously, are often a result of the simple way in which they can be obtained as well as the way students are pressured to fit into society.
Unfortunately, it only takes one false move to being the spiral down the rabbit hole of addiction. Many addicts admit that they continue taking drugs as a part of their continual effort to reach the “first high”, and as this becomes farther and farther away they increase their dosage and the number of substances they use in an attempt to obtain that. In addition to “chasing the high,” addicts then use drugs to avoid the sickness they are met with every time the high begins to slip away.
Especially as high school students, we are entering a part of our lives in which we feel invincible to the effects of the world and therefore entitled to experiment with different aspects of the world around us; however, drug addiction is one experiment in particular that can be nearly impossible to escape from. “It will destroy your life” *(Melissa, former addict “Chasing the Dragon”). It begins a part of your routine from the moment you fall asleep to the millisecond you wake up, draining money and destroying relationships until you’re alone in the world with your addiction.
When asked what he believed significant about this assembly, senior Nathaniel Sommers said, “The assembly, if anything, was a message for everyone on the true dangers on opioids, heroin, and other illicit drugs. It focused on the extremely sad reality of what these drugs do to you as an individual, as well as your family and friends. I myself gained from this assembly a working knowledge of why illicit drugs are such an issue in the United States, and why opioids need to be understood. What’s most important to understand is that for those who are using opioids and other illicit drugs is [that] it is never too late to seek out help; it’s never too late to save your life or a life of someone else who uses these dangerous drugs.”
Biological signs of an overdose includes shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, inability to be awakened, blue lips, and clammy skin. Ikari stressed the importance of reaching out for help should we see these signs in someone around us, because people often fear the legal consequences too much to save a life. In no circumstance will legal consequences be more significant than the death of a loved one or even a short lived friendship.
Drug addiction is so powerful that even after 7 months clean, it only takes 6 days to overdose and die, as happened to the daughter of Trish, another interviewee in the documentary “Chasing the Dragon”, which highlighted several people and their struggle with drug addiction (direct and indirect).
If ever faced with the struggle of drug addition or when asked to try obtaining a high under the pretense that ‘there won’t be consequences’, remember some of their parting words. “Every good part of my life was when I wasn’t high” (Julia), “It affects everyone in your life” (Trish), “If I could go back I would do it all different. Starting with that first pill… I wouldn’t touch it” (Cory).
For more information on the opioid crisis and the Heroin Education Action Team, please visit their website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-ct/heat.