Tom Barthel Consulting


High School Staff

Captivated our entire school body with his uncensored, truthful experiences of drug abuse and recovery… the way Tom- I choose too!

Diane Foster, Librarian, Lacombe Composite High School

Tom’s speaking was well and very personally inspiring. The talks were refreshingly different from others I had been to before. I would highly recommend them to any teens or adults working with young people

Rick Price, (photographed student health day) Photographer, Red Deer, AB

I have seen Tom’s presentation a few times now. It is straightforward and straight talk. Tom’s discussion is focused on his own personal journey with schizophrenia, drug School Testimonials / use, and most of all the focus on making your own choices. The students find him engaging and many said it was one of the best presentations they have seen. I was most impressed with his honesty as a presenter.

Jacqui, CALM 20 Teacher, HJ Cody Highschool

At Didsbury High School, we have adopted the principles of a “student boundaries” framework for staff to implement with students. The principles we adopted are a result of Tom Barthel’s time spent with our staff as part of our Professional Development day in August. Although things were generally okay at DHS, we had a concern over the increasing number of youth that were starting to use drugs on a frequent basis. I also noticed that as May approached, our staff was becoming frustrated with the number of students who were starting to show up late or miss classes without much concern. Phone calls home did not make a huge impact, and on some occasions, parents would excuse their child when there was no valid reason. This year we began with 100% staff buy-in to implement the strategies and a policy for raising our expectations of students. With Tom’s guidance we decided to focus on one aspect of student behaviour, and as a result, many of our other issues have a solid foundation to work on. Although it is early, our unified approach has had a very positive impact. Students have a sense of urgency to get to class on time, and when the bell rings there are very few or no lingering students. The staff feel better knowing they are all on the same page as far as student expectations. The “telephone chase” has also improved. Instead of our office staff calling the parents of missing students – I just had a teacher let me know that they had 3 students missing yesterday and all three had their parents call in to notify us. I can say our school has gone from good to great with the principles initiated from Tom Barthel.

Garth Dagson, Principal, Grand Prairie High School, Alberta Contact info available upon request

Not a problem Tom. The one parent actually commented that she had the most engaging “after school” conversation she’s ever had with her son after your presentation. Also, feel free to pass my name on if any school groups would like to “ask around” before booking you. Wow! And thanks again for coming out to Oilfields. Students and parents are still talking about your presentations

Scott Carey, Principal, Oilfields High School, Black Diamond, AB Contact info available upon request

Hi Sheila, I can provide you a number of insights with regard to the Streetsmart Counseling presentations but I can’t provide you with any specific quantitative data if that’s what you’re looking for. Please be aware that, although, we have worked with Tom over the course of almost a year and half we are working toward changing values and beliefs and, therefore, change may not be significantly visible or measurable in such a short time span. I originally heard Tom speak to our CALM classes about the effects of drug use and mental illness, and decided that this was a story about selfesteem which needed to be shared with the entire student population. In further discussions with Tom, I became aware that his methods were an age-old technique (“I choose”) which, if used by adults who were parenting/teaching at-risk kids, would be a useful tool/strategy. If this strategy was used consistently, the possibility existed to increase the likelihood that at-risk kids could become more successful at school, at home and in the community. Given this, I had Tom come speak to our entire staff which, in turn, provided a foundation to move the staff toward thinking and reacting to particular at-risk behaviors in the same manner on a consistent basis. This strategy, of course, is also beneficial to all students/teenagers. During this time, our school has developed an Attendance (including lates) Policy which is consistent with Tom’s teachings and is currently being implemented in our building this school year. So far, I can tell you that this has created staff working more consistently toward building positive relationships with students while implementing high expectations regarding student behavior, and having students take responsibility for their behaviors. I have been privy to some insightful conversations already with some of our at-risk population and am pleased with these results thus far. Staff are working hard to be accountable to the direction we’ve chosen to use as a strategy to facilitate success for all students so I’m pleased with this as well. During the course of last year we also hosted Tom as a presenter two evenings for our parents and surrounding communities. The presentation was well received by our parents and others who joined us. Many parents were anxious to try some of the suggestions offered by Tom in the presentation and I am aware of parents who chose to continue working with Tom after that presentation in an attempt to save their child from further drug abuse. I am aware of a couple situations where this has positively impacted the child and the family situation. I’m not sure if this was what you were looking for or not. If you would like me to give you a call still please feel free to let me know that and I will do so during the day tomorrow, wednesday, or feel free to give me a call in the morning.engaging and many said it was one of the best presentations they have seen. I was most impressed with his honesty as a presenter.

Val Yaremchuk, Principal Lacombe Composite High School Lacombe, AB Contact info available upon request

I have heard Tom speak twice now, once to school staff and once to our students. It is as a parent however that I most appreciate and value Tom’s messages. I think every parent, and especially those of type A children should hear Tom speak. It would have helped me tremendously to hear this perspective years ago. His message to students is, I feel- a solid beginning at having them understand the power of choices.

Linda Pack, Career Center Co-ordinator, Fox Creek Composite High School

Judge for yourself, it’s your choice! Tom Barthel’s presentation based on his own life experience carries a powerful message about choices that all parents, students, and teachers should hear.

Jane Palm, Career Counsellor, Calgary Centennial High School

Tom’s straight forward approach to these topics are great. I have found that using the “I choose” idea introduced to us by Tom has been easy to incorporate in daily dealings with students and totally relevant when discussing the importance of Choices with them. He said things to us that needed to be said.

Jason Petrie, Physical Ed. Teacher Lacombe Composite High School


I will sincerely never forget Tom’s story

Student, Alberta High-school

I really enjoyed his presentation and it opened me up to a lot of options I didn’t even know existed.

Student, William Aberhart High-school, Calgary, AB

Facts about drugs can be found on the internet. Hearing the emotion from a person who is speaking about a personal experience has much more of an impact.

Student, Alberta High-school