11/21/2019 - 3:23 PM - Lauren Lallemont

On October 8, some PSD students and staff went to the Sources of Strength workshop at NTC in Phillips. At this workshop, they were educated about the new program. Sources of Strength is a leadership organization that has a mission to prevent suicide and create solid relationships between staff and students. Not only did several students from Prentice go, but students and staff members from Phillips got involved as well. Many different activities and events happened here to get students involved and working together. The staff also got their fair share of fun activities at the workshop as well. For more information on the workshop and everything that went down, check out Kelly Hueckman’s article.

Since this workshop, a new Sources of Strength Awareness Campaign has come to the Prentice High School. For this campaign, students and staff come in with a friend, grab a whiteboard, and write a positive thing about their partner.   After the picture has been taken, new people become nominated to go in and take a picture with a friend of their choice. This has been going on for a few weeks now, and so many different people are getting involved. This has been a great way for everyone to see the good in each other, and it’s always great to see people in our community get involved. Sometimes it can be hard to see the good in one's self, so having someone else easily point out different positive attributes about anyone can really help other students or staff who need to hear it. 

“Ultimately, this is a suicide prevention program. I have been fortunate enough to never have a student in a school that I taught at die from suicide, and I am very thankful for that. Being a part of this has really made me feel like I am doing as much as I can,” explains Jamie Spagnolo, a Prentice High School English teacher and one of the staff members who attended the Sources of Strength workshop said. “It’s not just about suicide. This program isn’t so heavy, it’s about building a community within our school. It lets everybody know that there’s support, and that there is always someone to talk to. It lets people know that they can come talk to us. We are teachers, but we are also people who just care,” Spagnolo noted. 

One of the students who attended the workshop, Kelly Hueckman, is a senior at PHS, is involved with this campaign as well. “It can be hard for some people to say nice things about themselves, so hearing other people say nice things about them can be like a confidence booster. I’m proud of being part of the group and being able to help spread the positivity around,” Hueckman said. 14 other students attended the workshop at NTC as well, ranging from freshmen to seniors. The students who attended were nominated by the staff. The staff believed that this mix of students would be a great group to help get the campaign started and spread it to other students. 

One of the goals that Prentice started with was spreading awareness to other schools as well, and fortunately for Prentice, they accomplished this goal quite quickly. “I have been contacted by a few colleagues to get more information about this program. What we want is to spread it through our school, but we’re helping spread it through other schools, too. The coordinator for the Sources of Strength at Ashland Middle School saw my post on my own Facebook of my picture with Kaden Hartmann, and then they contacted me about the campaign for more information. Now they have taken on their own whiteboard campaign, which is so great. It’s really cool to see it spread throughout other schools,” said Jackie Franzoi, Prentice School District’s school counselor and one of the Sources of Strength advisors. “I think I’m good at my job, but it really is nice to hear it sometimes. That’s all a lot people really need is a little reassurance,” Franzoi stated. After Franzoi met with some other local school counselors from Phillips School District and Chequamegon School District, the Sources of Strength idea came about. Lynn Granberg, another Sources of Strength advisor, has been contributing to this program as well. “I think that it’s really cool to see this program spread throughout the other schools. I love seeing that it gets a lot of students and staff involved. This whole program is really great. It’s such a simple way to spread lots of positivity throughout our school,” Granberg stated. Alongside Spagnolo, Granberg, and Franzo attendees included Amy Ring, Carol Heikkinen, and Melissa Pilgrim.

In addition to the photo campaign, Prentice High School has been engaging in 21 Days of Gratitude throughout November. To display this exercise, a paper turkey in the Prentice Commons has been erected. Every Thursday so far this month students and staff fill out paper feathers. They write what they are thankful for on their feathers, and the new feathers get added onto the turkey each week. The turkey has shown lots of variety, and it can be very interesting to see what kids are thankful for the most.   Students and staff have really enjoyed getting involved, and the positivity is really starting to show more throughout every day. “I would like this campaign to go out to every corner of our school and just get out and reach everyone,” Spagnolo noted. As for the future for the Sources of Strength at Prentice, there are plans for more campaigns throughout the year, and hopefully going into future school years for future students to get involved.

For more information on Sources of Strength, visit the website at the Sources of Strength website or contact Jackie Franzoi at franjac@prentice.k12.wi.us.  Visit PHS social media on Instagram and Facebook to see more pictures from the campaign.