Whittier Vo_Tech Students Learn Marijuana Facts Before Legal Sales Begin

Jacklyn Verrette, a senior from Haverhill, and Cameron LaFrance, a senior from Georgetown, practice balancing peacock feathers on their hands as part of a relaxation exercise. (Photograph courtesy of Whittier Vo-Tech.)

With recreational marijuana stores possibly opening this year, students and staff at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School prepared by attending a presentation, “Weeding Through the Myths,” last week.

As part of health class, 130 freshmen, sophomores and juniors walked through a series of stations set up in the auditorium outlining facts on marijuana and related substances such as nicotine. Staff also had the opportunity to view the exhibit, said school Superintendent Maureen Lynch. Health Teacher Roxanne Grover explained the rationale.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity to clear up any misinformation that might be out there and offer healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety that people may not have realized are available to them,” Grover said. “Everything was really well received by students and staff.”

To serve as a guide through the stations, health teachers at the Haverhill-based school handed out a scavenger hunt, where students were asked to answer questions like what states have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, what are three health or safety risks associated with the use of marijuana and what are three things someone can do to reduce stress without turning to the use of substances.

Junior Ally O’Connor, of West Newbury. (Courtesy photograph.)

Junior Ally O’Connor, of West Newbury, found the presentation informative.

“A lot of students are aware of the uses of marijuana,” she said, “but seeing the numbers around when students start using and the health problems that it causes is eye-opening.”

Advisers of Whittier’s “Above the Influence” programs organized “Weeding Through the Myths” workshop, and South Shore Health System provided the information stations.

The last station featured a variety of mindfulness items designed to promote relaxation without substance use. This includes adult coloring, yoga and even peacock feathers that students tested out balancing in their hands to centralize their focus.