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Sentinel and Enterprise
By Joe Atmonavage
UPDATED: 10/20/2016 07:40:31 AM EDT


From left, St. Bernard’s Principal Deborah Wright, student Dominic Bilotta and Sheriff Lew Evangelidis during Evangelidis’ presentation Wednesday at the school as part of his Face2Face Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program. It was Dominic’s idea to have the sheriff speak at the school as part of his Boy Scout requirement. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

FITCHBURG — Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis said he does his best to interact with inmates, listen to their stories and learn how they ended up at the county’s House of Correction.

Evangelidis said inmates constantly tell him, “I wish someone had come to me in middle school and told me the facts about drugs and alcohol.”

That’s the reason Evangelidis has talked to nearly 260,000 students since being elected sheriff in 2010, discussing substance abuse and the path it can lead one down.

On Wednesday, he delivered that message to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at St. Bernard’s as part of his office’s Face2Face Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program.

“He has a tremendously engaging program,” said Deborah Wright, principal of St. Bernard’s. “He was clear, concise and engaging. This is a heartbreaking subject. We are all touched.”
Wright said student Dominic Bilotta approached her with the idea of bringing Evangelidis to the school as a requirement for a program he was working on as a Boy Scout.