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Mental health awareness club opening membership to all Schuylkill Haven High School students

Reading Eagle - 9/16/2022

Sep. 16—A popular club that aims to shatter the silence surrounding suicide, depression and other issues facing teens is opening its Schuylkill Haven School District chapter to all high school students in October, the school board learned Wednesday.

The meaning of Aevidum — "I've got your back" — is also the club's goal of offering support and positivity for students suffering from mental health issues.

Aevidum plans to hold activities that spread a message of hope, according to the handful of students and adult club advisers who spoke to the board.

The club was created in 2003 by students at Cocalico High School in Lancaster County in response to a student's suicide. It has since opened chapters in 250 school districts and colleges nationwide, according to Aevidum's website.

Schuylkill Haven's Aevidum branch started in March after two teacher advisers and 10 students attended an Aevidum training session on having conversations about mental health.

Aevidum will sponsor activities that focus on promoting positivity, like having students trace their hand and write a positive message on it, then hanging the tracings around the school to show that we're all in this together, said Samantha Muth, a junior and club member.

"I joined Aevidum because I personally know a lot of people who have struggled with different mental illnesses, and I want to educate people," Muth said.

Schuylkill Haven's club is currently restricted to members who have attended prior Aevidum trainings, but it plans to open its membership to all students in grades eight to 12 in October.

"We anticipate quite a large number of students (will join)," said Terri Keyworth, a teacher and club adviser.

Movie nights

Also at Wednesday's meeting, Dr. Susan Morgan, director of curriculum, told the board of plans to have the middle school auditorium double as a community movie theater.

"We don't have anything locally to run movies," Morgan noted.

Morgan said community movie nights in the 450-seat auditorium could be a fundraising opportunity for student groups that could work the concession stand.

She said the auditorium's projector screen has been replaced and a new projector is slated to be installed. She said she was able to obtain a license to screen movies from major production companies.

Morgan said she hopes to have the auditorium's rigging inspected in time for a district-sponsored holiday movie night.

"We're thinking maybe $5 a ticket to run something like the 'Polar Express' or something fun like that," Morgan said.


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