The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

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Encompass assembly discusses dangers of underage substance use

Presenter+Kathi+Sullivan+presented+on+alcohol+awareness+to+the+junior+and+senior+classes+on+May+3.
Courtesy Sullivan’s Message
Presenter Kathi Sullivan presented on alcohol awareness to the junior and senior classes on May 3.

Speakers shared the dangers of irresponsible substance use with the junior and senior classes during a morning assembly on May 3.

Encompass, an alcohol awareness coalition in the Northborough Southborough area, organized the assembly which featured advice from Principal Sean Bevan and Encompass Drug-Free Communities Coordinator Emily Flavin. However, the bulk of the assembly focused on a heart-wrenching recount of the death of presenter Kathi Sullivan’s daughter Taylor Lee Meyer due to underage alcohol consumption.

Opening the assembly, Flavin emphasized the importance of practicing refusal strategies, so students may be prepared to say no when substances are offered.

“You are the only one who can make this choice for yourself,” Flavin said. “It’s important to remember that.”

You are the only one who can make this choice for yourself. It’s important to remember that.

— Encompass Drug-Free Communities Coordinator Emily Flavin

Beyond just emphasizing the importance of saying no to substances, the assembly served as a realistic guide to how students can move on from traumatic experiences. Sullivan shared her position as a motivational speaker and showed that even after hardship she was able to continue with her life.

“I am the happiest human being you will ever meet in your life,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan keeps Meyer in mind as her inspiration to continue teaching. 

“My kid has been going out there and making a difference in other kids’ lives,” Sullivan said. “That means the world to me.”

Meyer passed away after a long night of drinking after homecoming her senior year. Sullivan shared the last photos her daughter took, the last conversations she had with her child, the tumultuous search for her missing kid, and how Meyer’s friends had allowed her to walk alone in the dark drunk. 

“Never leave your friend behind,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan also encouraged audience members to contemplate who would be deeply affected if they were to disappear, prompting students to imagine their parents or guardians standing in Sullivan’s place.

“You have no clue how much you’ll be missed,” Sullivan said.

Students were deeply affected by Meyer’s story of teen drinking.

“It was a sad story, and it made a lot more impact than I was expecting,” senior Natalie McNeil said.

Beyond advice on abstaining from substance use, the message to reach out for help and try to be as safe as possible rang out to students. Sullivan quoted Maya Angelou to reflect on her daughter’s decisions and to encourage students.

“Do the best you can until you know better,” Sullivan said. “Then when you know better, do better.”

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A donation of $40 or more includes a subscription to the 2023-24 print issues of The Harbinger. We will mail a copy of our fall, winter, spring and graduation issues to the recipient of your choice. Your donation supports the student journalists of Algonquin Regional High School and allows our extracurricular publication to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

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About the Contributor
Jax Jackson
Jax Jackson, Sports Editor
Jax has been involved with the Harbinger since his freshman year as a graphic designer, but taking Journalism as a junior got him truly excited about journalism. He has discovered a passion for storytelling, advocating through his work and sharing news, recently becoming an Editor-in-Chief. In his free time, Jax enjoys playing tennis, ceramics and performing music.
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