Stepping up against heroin


Katie, the third and final speaker of the Stairway to Heroin presentation, shares her own story about drug addiction. The three speakers addressed the importance of staying alert about the dangers of substance abuse and addiction on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in the auditorium.

Jessica Wojton, Author

For the first time, freshman and sophomores assembled to listen to speakers from the Your Choice organization in the auditorium on Oct. 11. The speakers discussed their own personal drug addiction stories and gave advice on how to avoid substance abuse.

Administration and principals started planning for the presentation last April and have put hard work into making the presentation possible.

“We had talked to Rosecrance, which is the largest drug treatment provider in the Chicago area, and they recommended this program. We did a conference call with the [Lybert] family in May. Then, we had a meeting in July, and from there, we picked the date they could come,” Mr. Ed Beck, Assistant Principal said.

Although not all students were able to attend, the speakers and administration had a specific reason in mind as to why only freshman and sophomores would go.

“Their target audience is sixth to ninth [grade]. Their research shows that is where they get the greatest impact on students. We were trying to look to target that next year with the middle schools or possibly second semester this year,” Mr. Beck said.

The presentation featured the Lybert siblings, Tyler and Ashleigh, who have dealt first-hand with the experiences and effects of drug addiction. Tyler opened up about his own personal experience when he started doing drugs in the sixth grade. His sister Ashleigh talked about the hardships of growing up with an addict as her brother. A third person, Katie, who prefers to keep her last name anonymous, also spoke about her own journey with drugs.

“I’m glad our grade was enforced to go because it was a good informational seminar. I heard people making fun of what they were saying, and I yelled at them. Those people have obviously lost a lot of loved ones due to the choices they made, and for people to joke around during that and text during that, it was really disrespectful in my opinion. I feel like everyone should have been there to hear what they had to say,” Kaylie Katsiris (10) said.

The administrators involved in putting together this presentation want students to understand that it is never too late to get help.

We want students to know that the choices you make daily can impact you and your family weeks, months and/or years into the future. That open communication with the people you love and care about should occur daily. Help for whatever issue you may be having is available and HOPE is more than a four letter word. The drug epidemic across the country affects all ethnicities, genders, socioeconomic status and should be taken seriously,” Al Gandolfi, Assistant Superintendent, said.