Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Here’s what you can learn from my story:

Name: Natasha Lacque

Here’s what you can learn from my story:

not going to be the first kid to get kicked out of AP” is what my
advanced placement social studies teacher told me after being
suspended for possession of juul paraphernalia/vaping products two
times in a single school year. When Mr. Pogel said this, it made me
stop and think about where my life was heading. It’s what some
people would call being at a crossroads – with Mr. Pogel stationed at
the fork.

teenagers who experience stress and anxiety turn to an outlet to find
relief: some people choose to sleep or read, but I chose to vape as
my escape from stress. I was in 11th grade; everyone knows that this
is the year that “counts the most.” I began the year with the
goal to make honor roll and try my hardest in every class, but in the
middle of the school year, all of the sports, homework and social
life began to be too much for me to handle. As the superintendent’s
step-daughter, I find it hard to ask for help and talk to people
about what I am going through. There’s always the thought of “Will
they use it against me one day?” or “How will this affect my
family’s image?” Everyone thinks of me differently because of who
my family is, but no one really understands what I go through.

Pogel looked past all of this and saw me as just another student with
potential who needed to apply herself and be held accountable. After
my first suspension in the fall, he reprimanded me and told me how
stupid it was. I did it again and got suspended in the spring of that
year. I was expecting to walk back into his class and just go on with
the lesson. Things were different this time. Before I entered the
class, he gave me an ultimatum. “If you get suspended again at all
the following year, I will personally kick you out of AP.” He also
gave me a supportive talk afterwards, but it really stuck with me
this time. He didn’t treat me like a child who made a childish
mistake but more like an adult, which people didn’t really do
because of my step-father’s role.

didn’t want to disappoint Mr. Pogel. After his words of wisdom, he
pushed me to have the drive and motivation I have today. I received a
96 on my NYS Regents Exam in United States History. Over the summer,
I took a college-level geography course and earned a B+. None of
which was possible without Mr. Pogel standing at the cross-roads
pointing me in the right direction.