S.T.A.R. Week ends on high note

S.T.A.R. Week ends on high note

Posted in the Severna Park Forum


Lawrenceburg, IN

#1 Apr 30, 2009
This is the biggest crock of poop. When your kids get depressed at SPHS, the teachers and counselors at the school could not care less and
DO NOTHING. They think doing STAR once a year checks that box that says we care. But when real situations happen during the year, they go into bureaucratic, we won't do anything mode.

S.T.A.R. Week ends on high note
Published 04/30/09
Counselors at Severna Park High could not have asked for a more glorious culmination to S.T.A.R. Week (Students Taking Actions Responsibly) held April 18-24, culminating a year of guest speakers, assemblies and activities geared toward helping teens battle depression, say no to drugs and alcohol and to provide them with new coping skills.

Photo no longer available
Sharon Lee Tegler For The Capital Members of the popular band Aw yeah performed a repertoire of rock, classic rock and reggae during S.T.A.R. Week festivities. From left, Adam Schoen on bass, Luke Boreaman on guitars and Luke Boreaman on drums.
Advertisement Hundreds of students gathered under bright blue skies after lunch on Friday to enjoy each other's company while grooving to the sounds of reggae and rock by Aww Yeah. The majority were wearing purple ribbons emblazoned with the words, "I made a S.T.A.R. difference."

According to Vicki Wueste, a counselor at Severna Park, S.T.A.R. Week designed by the school's counseling center, was launched in April 2008 as a collaborative effort between the high school, Parent Teacher Student Organization, local faith-based organizations, the community and with full support of Patrick Bathras, the principal.

"The idea for the program happened almost spontaneously last year in the wake of several teen suicides in our area," she said. "But it's evolved from a way to educate kids about suicides to something different."

"It's also a way to talk about character issues such as integrity and resiliency. It's really taken off and is becoming more and more student-driven."

Wueste added that staging the special S.T.A.R. Week activities was yet another way to encourage kids and "let them know we care about them."

When asked what the words Students Taking Action Responsibly meant to them, Lauren Kiebler and Kendall Seal said: "Being responsible for your actions" and Julie Kuhlman added "making good choices." Marta Ulbricht said they meant "being confident in yourself." For Zoey Kowalewski, the words suggest "integrity."

Observing the scene from a position in front of the band, Malia Oler and Jaret Bender proclaimed the second annual S.T.A.R. Week "a lot better than the first one." In addition to the positive messages, they loved being out in the sun on Friday listening to Aww Yeah and the other performers.

Vicki Wueste agreed that this year's activities - a PTSO Fun Run kick-off, group discussions, assemblies, a parent night and several dynamic speakers - were a better mix.

School psychologist Alex Meyer affirmed that guest speakers Bobby Petrocelli and Joani Gammill were effective in sending a message. She said both individuals are examples of how to positively recover from the consequences of bad decisions whether self-inflicted or as a result of another person's actions.

According to Meyer, each speaker received e-mails from students after their appearance saying, "You've changed my life."

Gwen Douma, president of the school's PTSO echoed the psychologist's comments.

"To have students hear a speaker in the morning and come back for the parent night to hear him again was pretty astonishing," she said.

Douma said how meaningful it was for the PTSO to be involved in developing, financially supporting, and helping to implement the S.T.A.R. program.

"After our first advisory at the beginning of the week, the kids started giving out these ribbons," she said. "It's a really special moment when a kid gives you an 'I made a S.T.A.R. difference' ribbon."

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