Lessons from a Life Cut ShortTuesday, May 29, 2012 By Amanda Gallo
I t was hard not to cry as I heard Assistant Principal Hugelmeyer get choked up while speaking out about his late nephew who died of a prescription drug overdose right before his 21st birthday. Like many other students, I imagined myself in Philip's shoes: in the prime of my life with all that it has to offer laid out in front of me. I wondered how many of my friends had ever actually experienced any of this hell Philip had gone through. His story hit home, partly because I could think of at least one similar to his. The thought of losing friends or even people I barely talk to is hard to handle. It was clear, this story could have been any ours. Star athletes, top of the class, friendly, smile-bearing young people. There's a plethora of opportunities to pursue in this world and we get one life to do so, which is why it is so important that we think twice and "make good choices" like former Principal David Zimbler used to tell us every morning. No matter where we've come from, we have to promise ourselves the best life possible by not screwing it up because we're curious about painkillers, or want to be cool and smoke weed before and after school everyday. We know from our own experiences, those of people we know, and the ones we keel over laughing about on COPS on TV, that drugs will get you into trouble -- if they haven't already. We have to wonder: Is this worth losing my job over? When I fail my math test tomorrow because I'm stoned, will I really want to sit by and watch my friends graduate without me while I sit in summer school? Again? Can I risk my life? Take the high road, stay above the influence. Convince yourself you don't need drugs to numb the pain or get high. You don't need to try it. How far is it really going to get you in life besides summer school or jail? Six feet under? Like Dr. Hugelmeyer said, it only takes one time to get addicted, and because of Philip we know how hard it can be to find help. So next time you think about trying, think of Philip, and how distraught his mother and uncle were. Think of how a successful guy fell into a trend from which literally no one could save him. I couldn’t imagine watching my friends go down like that... There’s just so much in life to look forward to -- but only if we allow ourselves to get there first.