SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824
For Immediate Release
Monday, April 9, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Oyster River High School Teacher and Student to be Honored by Mental Health Organization
DURHAM — Superintendent James Morse is pleased to announce that an Oyster River High School student and faculty member will both be recognized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire (NAMI).
Each year NAMI New Hampshire recognizes individuals, groups or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to improving the lives of people affected by mental illness and suicide.
This year, NAMI will honor ORHS teacher Meredith Freeman-Caple with its Educator award and ORHS sophomore Grace Smith will receive the organization’s Unsung Hero award.
Last fall, Oyster River High School students performed the drama “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” As the students worked to master their lines, Scott Caple — Meredith’s husband, who works as a psychiatric nurse — met with students to help them better understand their characters’ illnesses and symptoms.
While the performance by a group of dedicated teens could have stood on its own as a reflection of the challenges of mental illness and the shortcomings of treatment and care, Freeman-Caple elevated the experience by following each performance with a “talk back” session that helped audiences develop a stronger perspective about the realities of mental illness.
Smith and her family directly addressed the impact that mental illness has had on their family by describing their experience with a close family member who lives with mental illness. By doing so, they gave students and community members a deeply personal glimpse into how mental illness impacts individuals and families.
“The Smiths showed immense courage through their willingness to share their story of confronting mental illness as a family,” Superintendent Morse said. “Their efforts, along with the commitment of Mrs. Freeman-Caple to turning this performance into a meaningful learning opportunity, are absolutely worthy of recognition.”
Smith and Freeman-Caple will be honored on Saturday, April 21, at 3 p.m. during the NAMI New Hampshire Annual Awards Ceremony at the Grappone Center in Concord. There is no cost to attend the ceremony, but anyone planning to go should RSVP to Kimberly Somarriba at [email protected].