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HOMER-CENTER: History Bowl team advances to national competition

by MICHAEL SWEENEY, Gazette Student News Reporter on April 04, 2014 10:50 AM

HOMER CITY — It’s that time again; the time where we get to recap all of the events that have happened at Homer-Center High School recently.

In history-related news, Homer-Center High School’s junior varsity History Bowl team earned a trip to the National History Bowl in Akron, Ohio. They earned second-place honors in the regional qualifier on March 22, a job well done. Homer-Center’s Nick Silveri, a member of the History Bowl team, was selected as MVP for the team and as a result, he will compete in the National History Bee in Washington, D.C., later this month, as well as the U.S. Geography Challenge in Washington, D.C.

[PHOTO: Members of the junior varsity History Bowl team, from left, are Ben Wolford, Steve Novak, Nick Silveri and Rick Orr. (Stephanie Myer photo/Homer-Center High School)]

Homer-Center’s indoor percussion band, Homer-Center Nuclear Percussion, has made some quite impressive feats of accomplishment as well. On March 22, the band placed first for the second time this season in a Johnstown competition. The percussion group is ranked at a solid sixth place out of all other percussion groups from various eastern states such as Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. That’s more states than their own ranking. This is certainly a very special accomplishment for Homer-Center’s musical department, and the support for their continued efforts beats onward.

Emerie Stagner, a member of Homer-Center Nuclear Percussion, said, “It’s been a lot of hard work for us, as we have been putting a lot of hours into each week for practice. However, it’s been well worth it, especially when we heard that we’re sixth out of many different teams across several states. Also, seeing the looks on many of my friends’ faces after hearing the news was priceless.”

Raising Drug awareness

A few weeks back, an assembly was held in order to raise awareness. Raise awareness for what, you might ask? Well, it has been said that narcotic drugs, specifically heroin, have been on the rise in our area. That statement is as scary as it is real, and so Homer-Center High School held an assembly for all students. This assembly wasn’t just about heroin though, as it also stressed the importance of staying away from any drugs. So, on March 20, students and faculty were gathered in the auditorium in the afternoon to share some words.

The assembly started off with a video that included many interviews and perspectives on certain scenarios where teens and young adults were living a life around heroin. The video really showed how far these victims went in order to live with their addiction. Those who started the drug said that, as many others would agree with, it wasn’t about getting high after some time. Those who do drugs such as heroin are known to experience a term that was often coined as “dopesickness.” This was a way to describe the pain and sickness one feels when they are not putting the drug into their system.

Another point that was brought up was that many people lost their life, as an addiction to heroin can be just as deadly when you’re sober. Many victims would eventually get help, but then relapse. They would get high off the same drug, but the tolerance they had built up before wouldn’t be as high, so when they took the drug, they would take enough that harmed them more than usual. In several cases, the amount they took was enough to cause death. All it took was one injection, from the very first point, and these heroin addicts began living their life on a downward spiral; however, some managed to fight through the addiction.

In addition to the video that stressed the importance to never even try a drug like heroin, some guest speakers came in to talk about their own stories. Carmen Capozzi, of Irwin, the president of Sage’s Army and the father of Sage Capozzi, who lost his life due to heroin, spoke of his own experiences with many people who struggle with addiction. In addition, two past users came to tell their personal stories.

Haley and Matt, both in their early-to-mid-20s, spoke about how they got involved with heroin and what they have been doing to stay sober.

One thing they kept referring to, though, was that they noted their addiction as a disease. It wasn’t something that they were done with, and both Matt and Haley feel as if they are diseased as a result. Thankfully, the two are doing much better than they were before, as Matt has been sober for about six months and Haley for about two years.

When asked about why they refer to their addiction as a disease, both responded with, “We call it a disease because it has become a disease. We have to watch it and regulate it, and take proactive steps in order to prevent a bad reaction. We use the term disease to remember the consequences that had occurred, and to remember that if we’re not careful, the consequences can come back.”

The constant tug-of-war battle with addiction that many people face in their lives is certainly not a cheery one, but it is good to see more steps being taken in order to prevent more lives lost in such acts.

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