FCD Educator Empowers Students

By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Mine may be a minority opinion, but I’ve been thrilled to get in a full week of school, our first since December, between scheduled holidays and snow days! I’m also glad we had no interruptions because this was our FCD Week – our annual visit from a Freedom from Chemical Dependency educator. We have been working with FCD for years, but educator John Tummon is new to us this year and has been extremely popular with the students. Perhaps it’s his Irish accent (with a little Boston thrown in, to reflect his current residence), but more likely, I think, is that he combines his own experience (all FCD educators are in long-term recovery) with deep knowledge of brain science/substances’ effect on the brain and an innate ability to relate to teenagers. (He can also do card tricks, which never hurts.) One idea he shared with the faculty during our meeting with him was that the goal here is prevention – keeping healthy teenagers healthy. He spent an hour meeting with parents during his stay, as well, and our Director of Counseling Services, Terri White, had that recorded to share with anyone who was not able to attend. 

I’ve been working with teenagers at St. Francis since 2000, and on a personal level am now the parent of two teenagers. So I know that it is challenging, to say the least, for parents to guide adolescents through the web of making healthy choices, particularly because our society tends to glorify substances that, whatever one’s position on them for use by adults, have an objectively and measurably negative effect on teens. It really does take a village to keep them healthy, and we are glad to bring FCD to St. Francis each year to help in that effort.  

One idea I try to promote with the Wyvern flock is that they don’t need substances to have fun.  And on that note, we’ve got a fantastic Spirit Week and Night coming up next week! Tuesday through Friday, the School Committee has come up with themed dress days, and then on Friday, we’ll have face-painting throughout the day and a balloon send-off for our basketball teams, followed by an event starting right after school at our home gym (Old Male). A student-faculty basketball game, a pie-eating contest, boys’ and girls’ basketball games, Senior Night celebrations for basketball and bowling, halftime shooting contests, and free popcorn and drinks are all on the menu. We hope all the students will come out, and you’re certainly invited to join the festivities, too!