And a Really Big Mission.
Mission High School is the first publicly funded recovery high school in America, so it’s no surprise that the school plans to make big changes. In keeping with its purpose, Mission High School is offering students a scholarship to help them begin their new, sober lives in recovery. The scholarship will be supported by a fundraiser from TINHIH (There is No Hero in Heroin), which is one of the largest recovery nonprofits in Las Vegas. The fundraiser itself is called the R4R (Rock for Recovery) which is a high-energy, music-focused festival hosted at the Space LV.
This already sounds fascinating. But in an effort to dig even deeper and reveal the soul of the scholarship, I interviewed some of the students at Mission High School. My hope was to see how this scholarship was perceived from the eyes of the students who actually needed it. Additionally, I hoped to get an insider perspective of how the students viewed Mission High School and its staff.
The messages from the students are not only moving, but motivating. The students echo powerful ideas in their words: including themes of hope, camaraderie, resilience, and a mission to change how society views addiction.
When asked what students hoped to do after they graduate they responded with big plans:
Omar told us: “I want to join the Air Force. I have always wanted to do that since I was a kid.” Now that Omar is working on completing high school and staying sober, he can start taking steps to achieving his childhood dream of being in the Air Force. The Rock for Recovery scholarship will also assist him in achieving this dream.
When asked about what they had learned at Mission High School, student’s answers steered away from just academics and onto how to be their best selves. While academics are still important to these students, their responses revealed that they see the purpose of using their academic achievements to achieve the bigger picture – the picture of being a good, honest, helpful person in society:
Advice from Satonya:
“Take it one day at a time,” and “Don’t take stuff personal. You may not always like [the advice you’re given] but sometimes it’s the truth.” Santoya elaborated with wisdom on how tough love can help you grow. She explained that as a new student at Mission High School you will sometimes have to face challenging realities, but in the end it’s all worth it.
Advice from Mayra:
“Stay sober. Being sober comes with a lot of blessings. Better living, family back, parent’s trust.” Mayra echoed the goal of Mission High School and many recovery programs: and that is to keep recovery first. Recovery is an uphill battle, but if you can stay sober and defeat addiction, you can do practically anything.
Last but not least, students also explained that they come back to visit even after they graduate. They build a community and a family at Mission High School. Some of them even shared their favorite memories.
Rio shared: “One of my favorite memories was hooping with Logan at lunch. I still come back to visit. The reason I come back is for the people – especially Mrs. Collins.”
Mrs. Collins is the principal at Mission High School, and she was talked about by nearly every student who was interviewed. In the search for the soul of Mission High School, Principal Collins was consistently brought up:
“Because she listens to us. Because she hears us. Because she is strict when she needs to be but always looking out for us.”
Although students all spoke these words in different ways, the message was the same. Principal Collins is more than just a principal to these students. She has the warm heart of a mother, the firm hand of a leader, and the open ears of a guidance counselor. She takes care of these students and loves them, but also pushes them to find their own self love and potential.
Some final words about Principal Collins from Landynn: “Mrs. Collins, she takes care of us, she is just an amazing person.”
Mission High School is clearly an incredible place full of inspirational students, superb staff, and progressive and powerful purpose for its scholarships. The Rock for Recovery scholarship will help graduating students who want to continue sharing their inspirational messages with the world. It will also support new students in the future who take their next steps at Mission High School.
If you are looking to get involved please visit: https://tinhih.org/events/rock-for-recovery-2021/