Last night, I was one of the millions who watched the TV show GLEE; it was the ‘farewell episode’ to one of its’ own cast members who goes by Finn. There was something terribly sad and eerie about it though. Not only did Finn die in the show, Cory Monteith (who plays Finn) died at the age of 32 over the summer. This wasn’t acting on the show last night, it was real. All real. And I will be the first to admit I was in tears from start to finish. Cory was found dead of a heroin and alcohol overdose. Followers of the show knew that Cory had suffered though addiction for most of his 32 year life. Knowing that someone suffering and struggling with addiction makes it even worse. They never mentioned why he died in the show, but it didn’t matter at all. What mattered was a classy, thoughtful presentation on honoring a life, and acknowledging an illness. Now why am I writing about this on an education website? Today, I sat with my staff and started to re-write ALL of our curricula. EVERYTHING. Yes, a daunting, tedious task, but something we as a school need to do. I couldn’t help after watching last night to focus on our Health & Science curricula and see how much on the topic of drug & alcohol addiction is not covered. Addiction is serious business. Chances are you know someone who is an addict and they are right in front of you. Some are masters of deception; others crumble in front of you. They are young, old, fat, skinny, guys, girls, janitors, and principals. Some will be able to rise reborn like the phoenix; others end up in the grave.
Students need to be aware of this, and students need to see how something that people use to have some fun or cope can turn into ruining or ending your life. Unfortunately, Cory’s rehab didn’t help him. That’s not the case for all. Rehab can help (never cure) the problem; it takes hard work and dedication to stick to it. I know all about it; I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I don’t wish any student to experience it, but for students to learn about it, and know different avenues of getting people help… this can help others who succumb to the dark cloud of addiction. Education is power. Having one more student be aware of addiction and knowing its’ consequences makes our world that much better. I strongly encourage other Superintendents and Administrators to view their current curriculum and ensure that addiction is covered. Thanks again, Cory. We celebrated your life and your contributions last night, and we hoped you are looking down smiling at those here that still have some work left to do.