Academy at Swift River Featured by Top British News Show

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"Tonight with Trevor McDonald" will follow the progress of an Academy at Swift River Student who was featured on a UK documentary about the rising problem of alcohol abuse among British teens.

“Tonight with Trevor McDonald,” Britain’s most-watched current affairs program, will focus on Aspen Education Group's Academy at Swift River this week when host Sir Trevor McDonald charts the progress of UK student Sherrie Cooke. Known to British audiences as one of “Britain’s Youngest Boozers” thanks to her appearance last fall on an ITV show by that name, the 15-year old resident of Northampton, England is attending Aspen’s Academy at Swift River in Northampton, Massachusetts.

“Britain’s Youngest Boozers” profiled Sherrie and her family while she was enrolled in Aspen’s SUWS of the Carolinas, a wilderness therapy program designed to help teens dealing with emotional difficulties, substance and alcohol abuse. Sherrie received the opportunity to attend the Academy at Swift River following her completion of the SUWS program.

Often compared to the CBS show “60 Minutes,” McDonald’s show will chart Sherrie’s transformation from SUWS of the Carolinas to her progress at Swift River. The show will examine her experiences with the Academy’s clinical and educational faculty, as well as her involvement in student and community life. One of Britain’s most respected journalists, McDonald was recently knighted for his service to television. His show, which broadcasts twice weekly on ITV, the country’s most popular commercial channel, is seen by as many as 5 million viewers per episode.

Granada Television, responding to the alarming surge in underage drinking in the U.K, produced “Britain’s Youngest Boozers” to explore questions of why U.K. youth are binge drinking and to provide insights from parents, therapists and health professionals. Granada Television is the U.K.’s largest and most successful commercial TV production company.

Located in Western Massachusetts, surrounded by the scenic Berkshire Mountains, the Academy at Swift River is a college preparatory therapeutic boarding school that specializes in working with adolescents ages 14-17.5 (Grades 9-12) having social, academic and familial difficulties. The Academy at Swift River combines cognitive and emotive approaches in order to allow children time for natural growth within the classroom, the family, the environment and themselves. The 15 month program also provides experiential and community service experiences as part of the curriculum.

Aspen’s programs offer a combination of education and therapy or counseling for young people who have demonstrated behavioral or learning issues that interfere with their performance in school and their relations with peers, family and friends. Aspen’s offerings range from short-term interventions to long-term program, and include a variety of settings, including: wilderness therapy/outdoor education, boarding schools, residential treatment, and weight-loss programs.

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Vera Appleyard
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