Essex North Shore to Hold Showing of “If They Had Known” Documentary Tomorrow Night

Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School
Heidi T. Riccio, Superintendent
565 Maple Street
Hathorne, MA 01937

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Essex North Shore to Hold Showing of “If They Had Known” Documentary Tomorrow Night

Film to Address Dangers of Recreational Drug and Alcohol Use

HATHORNE — Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School Principal Shannon Donnelly would like to invite community members to attend a free showing of “If They Had Known” — a documentary addressing the dangers of substance abuse — tomorrow night.


Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m.


Essex North Shore, 565 Maple St., Hathorne in the media center on the main campus


Essex North Shore is hosting families and community members tomorrow night to address the important issue of substance abuse prevention.

The event will include a showing of “If They Had Known,” a 30-minute video where kids speak directly to their peers about the risks of mixing prescription drugs and alcohol. Narrators emotionally recount the story of their friend Clay Soper, a Winchester High School graduate, who tragically died at a party.

Following the video, attendees will be able to delve into the film and ask questions during a panel discussion. The conversation will be facilitated by student leaders, Essex North Shore’s School Resource Officer, wellness and student services faculty and administrators.

Essex North Shore also implemented the program into its curriculum, with students watching the documentary during their wellness/physical education classes last week and today.

“The ‘If They Had Known’ program allowed us to teach our students about the dangers of mixing alcohol and prescription drugs,” Principal Donnelly said. “The video and discussion are designed to reach students and speak directly to them. This helped to keep their attention and deliver this important message. It is my hope that this program will help our students make decisions that will keep them safe.”

“Based on the documentary ‘If They Had Known,’ I learned a lot. It really showed that drugs are very bad for the body and that they can really impact your life in a bad way,” said Henry Swenson, a junior landscape student from Topsfield. “I think it definitely taught a lot of people that you have to be very careful when going to parties because it does not take long for you to get pulled in to taking a bad drug. Overall I thought the documentary was great and that it really explained the consequences of drugs very well.”

About the Soper Family & The Clay Soper Memorial Fund:
Genny and Geoff Soper, Clay’s parents, producers of “If They Had Known” and founders and board members of the Clay Soper Memorial Fund, created the documentary after hearing the stories of Clay’s last hours before his passing.

The Sopers felt strongly that the lack of information that teens have about mixing prescription drugs and alcohol needed to be addressed BY kids TO kids. This documentary continues to be shared with high school and college students and their families as a result of their efforts.

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