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WAHS SADD Club Once Again Wins 1st Place in Statewide Suicide Prevention Video Contest

District Wide

March 21, 2023 | Community

2023 PSA Winning Graphic

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (MARCH 21, 2023) — A Williamsport Area High School video produced to help raise awareness on mental health stigmas and suicide prevention received first place for the second consecutive year in a recent statewide PSA contest conducted by Prevent Suicide PA (PSPA).

The video, created by members of the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club, earned the top spot in the 30-second category through online votes received from both students and the broader public.

“Our students are passionate about promoting a message of ‘hope’ for adolescent mental health and suicide,” said Jeremy Steppe, the club’s advisor and a WAHS health and physical education teacher. “The students spearheaded the challenge by creating a symbolic script focused on a character overcoming common adolescent struggles — ‘hurdles’ — and deciding to stay. This group of young leaders continue to step up and make positive changes in our school and community.”

The high school’s winning video focuses on a male student, played by WAHS junior Calder Diakite, who recalls when he “chose to stay” in a series of quick flashbacks as he runs hurdles.

“Even when all I could think of was the pressure, the loneliness, the pain,” he says in a voiceover. “But I chose to stay, to rise out of the darkness. You can choose, too. Just say something. You’re not alone.”

Those responsible for the video are Steppe and WAHS SADD Club members AnnaKate Gillespie, Kennadi Godfrey, Madeline Pennings and Diakite, with production assistance from Greg Hayes, the district’s public relations director.

The club will be recognized for their winning production during an on-field ceremony next month at PNC Field during a Pittsburgh Pirates game.

The aim of the annual contest is to empower and give rise to youth voices in the prevention conversation using “new and creative ways to share resources with our communities,” according to PSPA.


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