Starting Conversations on Addiction
I am often asked about the school’s role in providing our students the necessary support from a social and emotional standpoint. Students who struggle with hunger, clothing or addiction issues are less likely to succeed in the classroom. We want students to succeed in school, at home and in the community.
It is our job to help provide this support, in collaboration with many great community organizations.
Drug addiction affects people nationwide, in communities rich and poor, big and small. Our students are dealing with the outcomes of drug addiction in their lives daily.
While hardly a new issue, it is becoming more apparent every year the need to discuss this important issue openly.
On Wednesday, April 26, we are hosting a daylong series of events meant to bring the issue into the open, called Starting Conversations. This will culminate in an evening event that will include Wayne Campbell, from Tyler’s Light.
Initially, Sam Quinones — the author of the book Dreamland — was going to be heavily involved in our day. Unfortunately, Mr. Quinones is now unable to attend due to a health issue. We still hope to bring Sam to Newark later this year.
I was lucky enough to see Mr. Quinones speak last year, and his story was eye-opening. Dreamland chronicles the history of opium and the ways in which the drug has spread throughout the country. His account of how black tar heroin invaded our communities — assisted by the over-prescription of drugs like OxyContin — is, quite frankly, scary. Drugs are easier to access than ever before.
Drugs are impacting students’ lives at home, which impacts their success in school and later in life. A student who is worrying about struggles at home finds it difficult to concentrate and have hope for the future.
Particularly worrying to me is the way that prescribed opiates can foster addiction and serve as a gateway to heroin. It always scares me to think of a high school student being prescribed a drug like OxyContin after an injury.
That is what happened to Tyler Campbell, whose father Wayne started the group Tyler’s Light after Tyler’s accidental overdose death. Tyler, a standout athlete from Pickerington with a football scholarship at the University of Akron, became addicted to pain killers after an injury in college. His situation spiraled until the overdose. Addiction is a disease that impacts people from all walks of life.
We are honored to have Mr. Campbell coming to White Field on April 26 to deliver his message to high school students from across Licking County, and later in the evening to the broader public.
We are inviting the Licking County community to Newark High School at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, to hear Wayne speak.
The entire day will be devoted to Starting Conversations on drugs in our community. We are thankful for the support from our local businesses and community service agencies to make this day a success.
This is an important issue, and it is just the beginning of the conversation. We hope that you will join in.
By Superintendent Doug Ute
Megan Evans, Class of 2005
Megan Evans’ experience at Newark High School instilled a passion for travel, but the Newark community’s growth in recent years encouraged her to return to the community after college. She is now the Donor Services Officer at the Licking County Foundation, based in Newark.
A 2005 NHS graduate, Megan remembers many impactful teachers and administrators from her high school years.
“Mrs. Lorenz (art teacher) was so creative and encouraging,” Megan said. And French teachers “Mme Waite and Mme Rauch opened my eyes to a whole other world of culture and inspired a love of travel.”
Megan continued her education at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she graduated in 2009 with a bachelor of arts in Biology.
“I felt more than prepared for college coming from NHS,” she said. “My science classes at NHS were full of hands-on opportunities that easily translated into a solid science base as I began my biology coursework at OWU.”
Outside of the classroom, Megan volunteered for the Leo Club, which was NHS’ service club at the time. She was also on Class Council, orchestra, track and swim team, Clem Reads and other clubs like art, French and science. She also chaired an Operation Feed campaign at the high school, but credits the staff and community within Newark City Schools for helping her to be successful.
“The teachers, staff and coaches I’ve had the pleasure to know through the years have served as excellent role models,” Megan said. “There are teachers from elementary, middle and high school that I still interact with today who continue to serve as valuable mentors to me.”
Immediately out of college, she went to Miami, Florida, as an AmeriCorps volunteer for two years. She enjoyed the adventure, but also looked forward to moving back to the community.
“(It) was a great opportunity to live outside of Central Ohio, but ultimately, family drew me back,” she said, adding that she eventually decided to settle in Newark after starting to work at the Licking County Foundation. “It’s a fun time to be in Newark. There is a lot of positive momentum, progressive ideas and collaboration among residents.”
Megan’s position with the Foundation allows her to see, firsthand, the impact that collaboration is having on the community and lives within Licking County.
“Day to day, it’s a really inspiring job,” she said. “Whether it be working with a generous donor to help connect them to a cause they are passionate about or collaborating with community nonprofits that are doing important work to address some of the biggest issues facing our community, I’m constantly coming into contact with other people who are just trying to make our community a better place, and that is inspiring.”
By Community Outreach Coordinator Seth Roy
Legos help teach important lessons