Pictured L – R: Sasha McLean (Executive Director, Archway Academy Recovery High School, Houston TX) Leah Wright (Founder, Wake Monarch Academy) Mary Ferreri (Founder, Emerald School of Excellence)
Without a doubt, as someone who works in the substance use field, you have noticed the recent focus on both youth and recovery support services. The most noticeable marriage of these two focus areas has been in the Recovery High School movement. For years, North Carolina has been fortunate to see amazing growth in collegiate recovery, and I have been privileged to be on the forefront of these endeavors.
However, when I was doing presentations on this topic, invariably someone would ask, “How many recovery high schools do we have in North Carolina?” For too long I had to answer, “zero.” Today I can talk about both the Emerald School of Excellence (ESE) and Wake Monarch Academy (WMA) in Charlotte and Raleigh respectively. These schools are both in the planning stages, but ESE will be opening in 2019 with WMA following shortly after. The Emerald School of Excellence will be located in East Charlotte in the Memorial United Methodist Church. For more information, check out Emerald’s latest news coverage here.
Right before APNC’s Fall Conference I was informed that I would be receiving a title change from Collegiate Recovery Program Coordinator to the Director of Scholastic Recovery. The title change better describes the work I had already been doing with the recovery high school movement. It also gave me more freedom to start connecting collegiate recovery to recovery high schools, as both play a vital role in a young persons continued academic and recovery success.
As we know substance use disorder to be a disease where onset usually begins in adolescence, we therefore need to focus our combined efforts on this extremely susceptible population. We must utilize the talents and skills of our prevention, treatment and recovery professionals, and now teachers, to help these young individuals to face the complex challenge of maintaining both physical and academic health.
I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to be able to work with both the high school and collegiate recovery movements, and to APNC, and the NC Division of MH/DD/SAS for allowing me the space to operate for the betterment of our youth in recovery!
Director of Scholastic Recovery