An image from Walnut Grove Secondary School’s drug awareness video shows tributes at the grave of a former student who died from a drug overdose. A video, now posted on YouTube, WGSS Drug Awareness Video – We Are a Community includes multiple interviews with people who knew and cared about the two victims. Each discusses the impact the loss of the young men has had on their lives.

‘We don’t want to go to any more funerals’

Family and friends of two WGSS grads who died from drug overdoses hope their video will hit home with young people and save lives

Alex Wilkinson and Preston Pearce both had infectious smiles, lots of friends and family who deeply loved them. As well, they both graduated from Walnut Grove Secondary.

What the two also had in common, tragically, is that they both died at 19 from a drug overdose.

Family and friends of the two WGSS alumni have made a powerful video that can be seen on Youtube (WGSS Drug Awareness Video – We Are a Community).

In the video, Alex’s younger sister, Grace, speaks about her brother, saying he was always looking after her, was goofy and “the best big brother.”

“I really want to get rid of the stigma (of using drugs) and I really want you to know it’s OK … to come forward  and it’s OK to ask for help,” she said.

“Even if this video helps one person, it will be worth it.”

Preston’s mom, Judith, pleads with young people to call 911 immediately if a friend who has used drugs appears sleepy, or looks like they are going to pass out, as was the case with her son.

“Preston’s friends couldn’t wake him up. Best chance of survival is to make the effort to try and wake them up and call 911.”

The video, made by five WGSS Grade 12 students, was played for the entire student body at the end of an assembly last week, during Drug Awareness Week. During that assembly, a young person who recently came through recovery spoke to the students.

Youth care worker Rosemary Davis helped the students put the video together.

When Alex passed away in April, many of his friends were still attending WGSS or had recently graduated from the school like he did.

“A lot of them gathered here to grieve,” she said. Alex played hockey in Langley with a tight-knit group of teens who had suffered a lot of loss in a short amount of time, she said.

As well, the team lost best friends Brendan Wilson and Austin Kingsborough in 2013 when they drowned in a lake near Merritt.

“We, as a school, decided to give them a place to talk about how they were feeling. Out of that, the kids said, ‘We need to let people know what it feels like to lose a friend, a family member. We have to let them know to stop playing with drugs.’”

But the group believes that for the message to hit home, it couldn’t be lecturing or judgmental.

For Rosemary, it has become very personal, she said.

“In the last three years, five young people have died of overdoses,” she said. “I’ve been a youth worker for a long time and I’ve never experienced anything like this.

“We don’t want to go to any more funerals.”

Just Posted

Twilight Drive-In announces open season for moviegoers next Friday

Opening weekend will showcase a double feature with Aquaman at 7:15 p.m. and Glass at 9:50 p.m.

Elementary b-ball teams receive surprise game visit from ACSS Totems

Two grade 5 co-ed basketball teams were cheered on by players from the highschool Totems team.

Betty Gilbert b-ball boys defeat HD Stafford 38-28

Betty Gilbert’s grade 6 boys opened basketball season with a win against HD Stafford Tuesday.

Langley teams headed to upcoming basketball provincials

Teams from around B.C. converge on the Langley Events Centre for provincial tournaments.

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

VIDEO: ‘Heroes’ rescue teen trapped in car in Fraser Valley ditch

Two men sprang into action, holding 17-year-old’s head out of water as they pried open door

Most Read