SSC students win regionals for community awareness program


STANDISH — Two students at Standish-Sterling Central placed first in a regional competition Feb. 6 at the Bay Arenac Career Center for Health Occupation Students of America, and they will continue on to the state level April 16 in Traverse City.

Ashley Ellison, 17, and Megan Heiser, 18, participate at the Bay Arenac Skills Center in Bay City where they got involved with HOSA, a student club for those interested in working within the health professions. They chose to put together a community awareness program for the competition, focusing on teen suicide prevention.

For the regional competition, they sold T-shirts, pins, buttons and also put together surveys for other students to take at the Bay Arenac Career Center.

“We wanted a hometown idea of what teenagers thought of teen suicide,” Ellison said.

At the moment, they are putting together brochures and want to make a Web site, Ellison said.

“We want to make it more communitywide,” she said.

The brochures contain statistics on teen suicide, warning signs of suicidal teens and the Yellow Ribbon Organization phone number that people can call if they need support.

“We want them to know that they have someone to talk to,” Ellison said. “Life’s more important.”

According the their brochure, one out of eight teenagers suffer from depression, and one teenager commits suicide every 100 minutes.

From their own survey, they also found that 20 out of 71 students had thought about committing suicide, and the three most common reasons for thinking about suicide were daily stress from friends, family and relationships.

The community awareness program category is just one of many within the HOSA competition. The top four community awareness programs from each region advance to the state level, and the national competition will be held in Orlando, Fla., in June.


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