May 26, 2016 3:35 PM
SEABROOK - While holding hands, 111 Exeter High School students took the annual Chucky’s Plunge Thursday. Their dip into the cold waters of Seabrook Beach was meant to send a message that they’re united in fighting heroin abuse in their town.
Leading the Plunge was Chucky Rosa, a Seabrook fighter who lost two sons, Vincent and Domenic, to drug addiction more than a decade ago. Rosa says his surviving son Chucky Rosa, a well-known UFC fighter, is in recovery.
“These dealers are ringing their pockets with our money and killing our kids and it’s brought our country to its knees. The way to combat that is education,” said Rosa.
The elder Rosa travels around New Hampshire and Massachusetts, sharing his family’s heroin and fentanyl story with teenagers. The principal at Exeter High School, Jim Tremblay, says you can hear a pin drop when he talks to the students.
“In today’s day with social media, they want real messages. We need to tell the kids straight out and empower them to make the right decisions,” Tremblay said after taking a cold plunge with the students.
To participate in Chucky’s Plunge, students must raise money to help drug addicts who are currently in rehab.
“There’s a lot of good kids doing positive things and we want to send a positive message,” said Paul Landry, a health teacher at Exeter High School.
Many of the students have had friends or family members involved in heroin addiction. High school freshman Steve Machala says his cousin recently died from a drug overdose.
“It’s peer pressure, I guess. It’s high school, and you make bad choices,” Machala said.
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