POINT PLEASANT — Motivational speaker Tony Hoffman will be coming to Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School (PPJ/SHS) next week.
PPJ/SHS Principal Bill Cottrill said the event will be held Wednesday, May 2, 1 p.m. in the Wedge Auditorium.
Hoffman is a former BMX Elite Pro and Olympic coach as well as a recovering addict. According to Hoffman’s website, while Hoffman was in high school he started using alcohol, marijuana, and prescription painkillers becoming addicted. Hoffman committed a crime which landed him in prison for two years. Upon release, Hoffman turned over a new leaf, he placed second at the 2016 World Championships in Medellin Colombia in the Masters Pro class and was a 2016 Rio Olympic Games Coach. Hoffman is the founder and director of the Freewheel project and has dedicated his life to spreading awareness about substance abuse.
Cottrill stated, “Tony has an important story to tell and I am grateful that our students will get to hear his message. Drug use and addiction are rising in the state of West Virginia and we have to do everything we can to let our young people see the real picture of what addiction looks like and how it can destroy a career or a life. On the other hand, they also need to see that there is a way out. It’s a long hard road, but it can be done with the right support. They need to know we are there to help them. Tony’s story is of tragedy and triumph.”
Todd Bowen, of New Life Clinic, reached out to Cottrill offering to sponsor Hoffman’s visit to PPJ/SHS. Bowen said prevention is a big part of the solution to the opioid problem.
Mason County schools’ juniors and seniors have been invited to the event. Bowen said he wanted to reach the students before summer because Hoffman’s story can aid them in saying no to illicit activities.
Since Wahama, Hannan, PPJ/SHS, and the Mason County Career Center (MCCC) have so many students in total, Bowen said it was decided to have the juniors and seniors from the four schools attend as they are more the likely group to be exposed to difficult situations involving drugs and alcohol.
Cottrill added, “Juniors and seniors see more of the peer pressure to drink or do drugs more than any other age group. Our seniors are leaving and going out into the real world, while our juniors will be stepping up into our school’s leadership. We want them to get the message and spread it to those around them.”
Cottrill said if Wahama’s and Hannan’s students cannot attend, then the entire student body of PPJ/SHS and MCCC will attend the event.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.