Stephen Hill speaks to students about substance abuse

Stephen Hill speaks to students about substance abuse

Ashley Pizha and Gina Trapani

Edison Intermediate school welcomed Stephen Hill to the stage recently. He spoke about substance abuse to our eighth grade students.  Stephen Hill is a public speaker who comes to different schools across the country to provide information about drugs and shares his story about his drug addiction throughout his teenage years. He also goes to many drug free community coalitions. He does this to share his cautionary tale of addiction to recovery, and leaving people better educated about drugs and how harmful they can be to your body.  He is also the founder of the Speak Sobriety group which helps teens not go through what Stephen went through. 

A common presenting technique is to use a PowerPoint or slide show, but not Stephen Hill. He presented his story by just talking about everything that happened in his life from beginning to end. Staff and students found the way he presented his story moving. Eighth grader Julia Janazeck stated, “I thought the way he presented was really engaging towards students.” 

Vice Principal Mrs. LaNova Shall also shared her thoughts on how he presented his story. She declared, “He was very relatable and very down to earth and I like how he didn’t use his microphone. The students could ask him any kind of questions, and he was ready to answer. He was just telling his story in a very engaging way.”

Stephen Hill has impacted and related to many students and teachers with his story. Staff and students have comments about this topic and if it was good to inform students about it. Eighth grade teacher Language Arts teacher Mrs. Kimberly Swenson explained, “I think substance abuse is an important subject. We think that drugs are so far from us, but for many people they deal with peer pressure regularly. I think that the earlier students learn about the dangers of drug use, the less of a chance drugs will be a part of their future.”

Principal of Edison Intermediate School (EIS ) Matthew Bolton thought it was an amazing presentation and it really connected to many students and staff. He claimed, “I loved the important message that Stephen Hill shared. I think he relates to a lot of our students. He was a great athlete.  He was a generally  great student from a good family and a really nice town. He got mixed up in a situation that essentially ruined the next ten years of his  life.”

Dr. Bolton continued, “I think it is a situation that many students can identify with. He was trying to fit in with older kids and got mixed up with drug abuse. It is an important message for eighth graders to hear before they go to high school. Everybody was super respectful and thoughtful on the way they listened.”

Lastly, Mrs. Shall said  that the school could potentially save a lot of time and money with kids being educated about substance abuse early.  She claimed, “I think if we’re proactive, than the district can save a lot of resources, money, and heartache, versus being reactive and having to try and fix a problem. Getting to students before we have an issue is priority versus trying fix it once it’s already established.”