Eagle Valley students make a ‘call to action’
Edwards, CO Colorado
EDWARDS – To 17-year-old Paola Torres, the rising suicide rate among teens is deeply troubling.
She wants to do her part to prevent suicide and the bullying that often causes it.
“Bullying is a big reason right now why people are killing themselves,” she said. “I think that’s sad. Just accept each other.”
Tomorrow, Torres will share what she’s learned about teen suicide during Activist Reading Night at The Bookworm in Edwards.
“I’ve known people who have killed themselves,” she said. “Especially in this valley, there’s been a lot of suicides happening. I just think it can be prevented. If they were to talk to someone, they could have stopped it.”
Students in Mary Ann Stavney’s English class at Eagle Valley High School have been taking on some weighty issues lately. They plan to present what they’ve learned to a crowd at the book store.
Asked to research any topic they want, teens delved into such heavy fare as gay adoption rights and the plight of immigrant students.
“They are exploring a socially significant issue and trying to raise awareness and encourage people to take action to solve the issue,” Stavney said.
She and American government teacher Ashley Weaver started the activism project last year and launched the first reading night at The Bookworm.
Once again students are making a call to action through their upcoming presentations at The Bookworm.
Senior Stephanie Ramos said she sees a lot of teen pregnancy at school and that’s why she chose to research that topic. She was shocked to learn that there are 750,000 teen pregnancies each year in the United States.
“It’s ironic because there are so many ways to prevent it nowadays, but you see so many more teen pregnancies now that you did before,” she said.
Ramos plans to talk about ways to prevent teen pregnancy and show pictures of teen moms going through struggles.
“We can take action, too, but I think adults can as well,” she said. “I think you should have an open-minded conversation with your child, especially if they’re teens, and just explain to them how it can be preventable.”
Senior Melissa Sanchez studied how immigrant students who live in the country illegally are treated in the United States. She found that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or “DREAM Act” gives those students some protection, but many end up working low wage jobs after graduation because they don’t have the documentation they need to get jobs in their fields.
Sanchez concluded those students should be allowed to stay in the country.
Students will certainly be speaking their minds on Wednesday night. Stavney said most people are afraid of public speaking to begin with, but it takes even more courage to talk about a controversial topic.
“When they have to speak about something that they’re afraid might cause someone to reject them or judge them, it can be more challenging so I continue to be impressed they will stand up and do that in a respectful manner,” she said.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or email@example.com.
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