Spreading a Message of Hope and Help

Sam Lucania shared his story to students in a powerful message.


Sara Holland

Sam Lucania spoke to Dominion students on the morning of January 9.

On Wednesday, January 9th, Sam Lucania came to Dominion and spoke to students about his experiences in middle school, high school, and eventually graduation, these struggles included battles with substance abuse which led to challenges with depression and anxiety.

Lucania is now in long-term recovery and has been sober since October 5, 2015. He left his home in New Jersey and came to Loudoun County in an attempt to run away from his problems. He discussed how decisions to drink when he was younger lead him down a deeper path of depression and anxiety. After suffering from an overdose in 2013 and being sentenced to three years in jail in 2015, he now is giving back to his community through speaking at different events, often schools. He has been presenting at different events for a little over a year now.

Other high schools throughout Loudoun County have had Lucania come to speak to their students, including Heritage and Stone Bridge. Ms. Smith, counseling director, and organizer of the assembly, said, “I heard from Stone Bridge that he had come to speak to their students. And I heard great things.”

The presentation touched on several topics throughout his presentation, ranging from the importance of a positive mentor, the importance of getting help, and how one is never alone. Lucania said, “I want students to be able to walk away [with] knowing that no matter what they suffer from somebody else has been through it. And there’s somebody that can help them.” Ms. Smith, also expressed the importance of asking for help, said, “He talks about help being a dirty word and that he sees help it as being a sign of strength.”

The message was universal to all students in many different ways. Ms. Smith explained, “If you’ve never dealt with depression, anxiety, or addiction, I felt like there’s something within his message that any student can connect with, he tries to make his message universal in that way.”

Lucania explained why he does these presentations, “When I was in active addiction, I spent so much time taking from other people, whether it was taking their time, taking from them emotionally, taking from them physically, now that I’m sober. This is my way of giving back.”

At the end of presentation he could be seen talking to several students about things that were going on in their lives, their friend’s lives, or their family’s lives. He could be see giving out his information so that students could speak with him outside of school. Lucania said, “It’s very important for me to have engagement with students beyond the stage. I don’t want to just come here, speak, and then leave.I was told that in sobriety one of the ways to stay sober is to help somebody else and anytime that I’m helping somebody else I can guarantee I’m not thinking about myself.”

Dominion plans to carry on Lucania’s massage through the Sources of Strength program, which is new to Dominion as of this year. Ms. Smith said, “The primary mission of that program is to spread hope, help, and strength. My hope is that those students will find creative campaigns that they will do, or to do a creative activities, or events that will continue to spread those messages to our school and our community.”