Northport Students Host Exchange Program to Tackle Social Issues

Students from diverse communities are working together this week to combat  common issues: the opioid epidemic and other social problems affecting communities across the country.

Fifteen students from Tug Valley High School in Kermit, W. Va., arrived in Northport Sunday night after a tiring journey that began about 14 hours earlier. They were met by students, parents and school representatives from Southampton, Huntington and Northport high schools.

Led by Northport High School teacher Darryl St. George, members of the Northport  group Students for 60,000  are hosting the visitors for the week as they work together on projects in Huntington Station, visit veterans at the VA Medical Center in Northport, and participate in a drug forum Wednesday night at the Cinema Arts Centre. The students are “trying to bring about some healing” on issues dividing Americans, such as race, economic gaps and politics.

Kermit found itself in the national news last  year after an investigation showed that one pharmacy had received  9 million hydrocodone pills over two years from out-of-state drug companies for a community of 392 people.

Northport students visited Kermit in February to learn more about the effects of the drug epidemic.

The students gathered at the American Legion Post for a meal and to hear m speakers describe the impact of opioids on the families. One of the speakers was St. George’s mother, Kerry St. George, who talked about losing a son, Cory, to drugs in 2012.

Drugs are “a disease that wants us dead,” she said. “Everyone in this room makes a difference.”

Daniela Ramos, president of Huntington High School’s 2020 senior class, said she hoped to learn more about the program because she didn’t “want students to waste their time” with drugs and to work on ways to communicate about drug problems. She hopes to study politics and law after graduating from high school.



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