WRV event unites students to end school violence

WRV event unites students to end school violence
WRV eventhttp://www.gcdailyworld.com/story/2507038.html

WRV event unites students to end school violence

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

An event held Tuesday afternoon at White River Valley High School united students from WRV, Eastern Greene and Bloomfield High School and featured a dynamic speaker on the topic of ending school violence.

According to his website, Nathan Harmon, founder of yourlifespeaks.org,, is the most-booked school speaker in the country.

The 23-year-old Harmon, his website says, has overcome drug addiction, self-harming and suicidal thoughts, and addresses the topics of peer pressure, bullying and overcoming adversity directly from his own experiences.

Harmon has appeared at WRV before, speaking to students on similar topics.

The idea for Tuesday’s rally came from a meeting of WRV’s Student Leadership Group, made up of 17 WRV students.

“We are made up of the student officers from each grade plus a few who participated last year and wanted to again,” said Ian Staggs, WRV sophomore class vice-president.

Staggs, along with the other members of the school’s leadership groups, meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings during what the school calls “zero hour,” 7:15 a.m.

“About two months ago, it was right after the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland,” said Staggs, “We decided the subject really needed to be talked about. We were compelled to do something that could directly address the issue and provide solutions.”

Staggs said that while the walk-outs and marches by students occurring in other parts of the country do have their benefits, the group at WRV wanted to do more.

“We wanted to provide knowledge, create unity and turn negatives into positives,” Staggs said. The group created an initiative called “Help 17,” in which students are urged to, in some way, help 17 people a day.

“The significance of the number 17 is to honor the 17 people who lost their lives in Parkland,” Staggs explained, “But making a difference in the life of even one person a day can change the world.”

The group created bracelets to hand out to fellow students, each one bearing the words “no more silence, end school violence”, worn to remind every student they have the power to change the culture of violence within their schools.

Eastern Greene Schools Superintendent Ted Baechtold attended the event with High School Principal Doug Lewis.

“I think the message of family and looking out for one another was very powerful,” Baechtold said. “We all face challenges and have anxiety and knowing that one is not alone could make all the difference. Working those ideas into promoting non-violence will positively impact all who attended. I appreciate the student group at WRV and their school for hosting the event.”

Harmon delivered powerful messages of hope, delivered with anecdotes of his own life and offering practical solutions and alternatives for students facing issues of violence and low self-worth in school or at home.

WRV Schools Superintendent Bob Hacker stressed the importance of the messages delivered by Harmon, and expressed his appreciation to Eastern Greene and Bloomfield for their taking part in the event.

“We speak about family all the time with our students,” Hacker said, “About good times and bad times, just like all families have, but at the end of the day we are responsible for each other. School, especially high school, can be a very difficult time. We feel it is important that students understand that they are not alone. It’s everyone’s job to treat people with kindness and it’s everyone’s job to keep an eye out for his or her neighbor. Building positive relationships is one of the three pillars of our mission statement at WRV. It is a developed skill and it is one that can have a profound difference in the culture and safety of a school building. I am proud of our student-leadership team for putting together a great program, and I hope that each student and adult was able to take something positive from the many valid points that Mr. Harmon was making.”

For more information on speaker Nathan Harmon, visit www.yourlifespeaks.org.