Taking advantage of the shortened school week, Old Rochester Regional High School held two assemblies in the morning blocks to show a documentary about the consequences of substance abuse.
Presented by the Clay Soper Memorial Fund, the film If They Had Known was shown to all students. Seniors and juniors saw it first in the morning, and sophomores and freshmen viewed it afterwards.
The documentary chronicles the night that 19-year-old Clay Soper died after mixing Xanax and alcohol. He had been at a party in his hometown of Winchester while on winter break from his first year in college. His friends who were with him that fateful night told the heartbreaking, yet sobering, story in the film.
The film was a wake-up call for many students at ORR.
“It showed us the real-life example that we didn’t see in health class when they said not to mix pills and alcohol, and that’s what makes the lesson more likely to stick,” commented senior Emily Bock.
The documentary did its part in raising awareness on the dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol and the seriousness of such consequences. Talk filtered through the hallways for the rest of the day on the subject that had been presented earlier, and discussion is always key to positive change in current or potential actions.
“Schools have made it abundantly clear by the time you’re in high school that, individually, drugs and alcohol are things you don’t want to get involved in, but I think it was news for all of us that taking drugs and alcohol together could easily kill you,” said freshman Lucy Zhang. “I think the documentary couldn’t have gotten the message across any better. It showed a teenager who didn’t know the fatal consequences and had actually died, which really struck a chord with the audience.”
“I think it was a bit more impacting because they gave background on [Clay Soper],” said freshman Jack Caynon. “I learned about the real dangers behind drugs and alcohol and that even if my friends suggest to do something, that sometimes it’s best to avoid the situation.”
By Jo Caynon