Westfield Promise Program
The Westfield Promise is an early college program offered through Westfield State in partnership with Westfield Public Schools, Holyoke Public Schools, and Springfield Public Schools. The program enables students to earn up to 12 college credits by the time they graduate high school, greatly increasing the likelihood that they’ll go on to earn a college degree!
We are proud to showcase the work of Westfield High School Promise students, under the guidance of their teacher Ms. Kristen Biancuzzo. Students created a video to address the opioid crises in Westfield, sharing personal stories, original poems, and music. They shot and edited the footage presented and are continuing to work on their final product which we hope to showcase at a later time.
MELODY LATSHAW, ELLA MASTROIANNI, SOLIMAR NAVARRO,
KASSIDY SAUNDERS, ALYSSA SOTO
TEACHER: KRISTEN BIANCUZZO
FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR PAIGE HERMANSEN, ENGLISH
Breaking the Silence: Young People Come Together to Bring to Light the Dangers of Addiction
Our Documentary and Sculpture project is based on the Sam Quinones’ book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, a story of how heroin addiction became an epidemic in small-town America. Our home, Westfield, is also a part of this epidemic. One can not walk on the river bank without seeing the used needles, burnt spoons, and empty nip bottles that litter the embankment. There are students vaping in our school bathrooms and juul pods in the toilets. At the heart of it all is the opioid epidemic. Addiction has impacted most all of us in this community. As high school juniors enrolled in the Westfield Promise Program, we were interested in helping to educate the youth of Westfield on this problem and how to get help. Our project is divided into three segments: Educate, which shares statistics and information about addiction; Agitate, which shares personal interviews with parents and people in recovery; and Advocate, which focuses on making change. We worked collaboratively with the Coalition for Outreach, Recovery and Education (C.O.R.E.) to make a documentary in order to reach our goal of removing the stigma surrounding addiction and to help youth who live with and around these issues to find help. In addition to the film, we are working with our Art Department to create a sculpture entirely of recycled prescription pill bottles, to emphasize the fact that addiction knows no boundaries - addiction impacts us all.