King’s Academy, December 2, 2015 — It was an eye-opening week for sophomores when wellness specialist Gretchen Hagenbuch travelled to King’s Academy from St. Andrew’s School in Delaware to host several interactive sessions on drug awareness.
Hagenbuch, now 20 years sober after struggling with substance abuse as a young woman, worked with the entire 10th grade class, and drew from her own experiences – balancing humor with illuminating statistics – to help kids learn how to make sound decisions regarding alcohol, tobacco and other addictive drugs.
“When I was growing up, drug education was inadequate,” Hagenbach said. “It’s important to provide kids with the right tools for dealing with this issue and to teach them how to navigate it properly.”
Students divided into six groups attended sessions with Hagenbuch from November 29 until December 2 in the rotunda of the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library. Hagenbuch also met with other groups of selected students in addition to deans, counselors and faculty members. She hopes to return sometime next year to work with more kids.
“There’s so much at King’s Academy that’s loving and good. The community is designed to help but not everyone knows that,” she said. “We need to make sure kids are able to make an educated decision based on-up-to date knowledge and are comfortable in an environment where they can ask questions and receive honest feedback.”