Megan Lynch (@MLynchOnAir)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s the first of its kind in Missouri — a high school for teens facing addiction.

“Because we send kids out for treatment and they go right back into the same environment they were in, and wonder if there was a school where kids could be that was an actual sober environment.” So Vince Hillyer, president and CEO of Great Circle, says they’ve launched one this week.


great circle logo p2935 white solid text large New High School   Great Circle Academy   Focuses on Sobriety

Only 19 other states have similar programs, but Hillyer says many have a different focus.

“A lot of them are working more on recovery than they are education. We don’t want to let the education piece go, so we want to make sure that we’re continuing to educate these kids to go on to college or university if they want to.”

Great Circle Academy has room for 20 students this year.

Hillyer says tuition for a year costs less than a 30-day rehab program, and unlike similar schools in other states, the academy won’t kick teens out of if they relapse. She says that’s part of the recovery process.

Students and families will have help from a recovery coach.

“School is 8 to 3, this will be the person that works with them from 3 to 8 the next morning. What do you do when you go home, putting together alternative peer groups, so that you can go out and do things that don’t involve alcohol and drugs and hanging out on the street corner,” Hillyer says.

The family will be expected to make a commitment to the school, and Hillyer’s hope is that it will become a community.

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