A School with a Mission

Jaycie Bayless


Growing rates of adolescent substance abuse is causing one school to take a stand.

Mission Academy High School is a recovery high school in Oklahoma City that helps students struggling with substance abuse. The academy itself helps students to get their diplomas while also offering clinical counseling, support groups, weekend programming and therapy.

Maggie Brown, director of development for Mission Academy, said this type of program is what is needed when dealing with adolescents and substance abuse.

“We need recovery high schools because if not, then these kids go right back to their high school where the problem started and are never able to get out of the cycle,” said Brown.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 15,000 children ages 12-17 were dependent on illicit drugs or alcohol in 2013.

One of those students is 17-year-old Julia Keel. Keel attends Mission Academy and said her life would not be what it is today without them.

“Had I not found Mission Academy I’d be dead,” said Keel. “I’m eight months sober and I don’t think that would have happened without them”

Keel picked up her first cigarette at age 12 and tried alcohol at 13. By 16 she was selling her body, drug dealing and had tried numerous other drugs including heroine, but because of Mission Academy Keel’s life is different now.

“Just the opportunities I have now, I mean I get to think about college, this would not have been possible a year ago,” said Keel.

Cutline for Video: A look at the school that is changing lives. https://vimeo.com/214614547