How addict’s powerful message is helping change Hungary Creek Middle School

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- It’s a busy day at Hungary Creek Middle School in Henrico County. There are buttons, ribbons and bracelets to make.

The maker hub products these 8th grade students are making will be handed out to remind students that they don't need drugs and alcohol to meet life's challenges; they're perfect just the way they are.

It all started with an idea from Health and PE teacher Josh Gentry.

"This year Student Resource Officer Chad Vitek with Henrico Police did a presentation to our 8th graders on the opioid crisis," Gentry said. " Well, I wanted to take it a step further."

Teacher Josh Gentry and Student Resource Officer Chad Vitek with students

Gentry had just shared a presentation from motivational speaker Chris Herron.

 

The college basketball star's professional and personal life was derailed by addiction until he found help through intensive rehab programs.

Chris Herren

The message got the attention of the kids in Gentry's health class.

"People are trying so hard to fit in, so they're going to drink, they're going to smoke, they're going to change themselves entirely just to fit in with the group to be popular”, student Shanelle Mijanjos said. “It doesn't really matter. You should be yourself no matter what."

That message has spread across campus.

“It started out that I just had my health classes involved," Gentry said. “It turned into students I didn't teach wanting to get involved and passing out buttons and bracelets and necklaces. It really turned into a school-wide event."

Josh Gentry

Miguel Ambert is happy to be involved.

"This is one of the best projects that our school has done and it's really helped a lot of people around the area," the 8th grade student said.

The kids are taking it upon themselves to make buttons, wear purple on Fridays, and spread this message.

They also surprised Mr. Gentry by making this positive video.

"We just want you to be yourself and be proud of who you are," Shanelle said.

It’s building positive attitudes while Building Better Minds.