Elyssa’s Mission would like to applaud the efforts of two Wheaton teens whom went above and beyond the requirements of a class project, and bravely tackled a difficult and often taboo topic: suicide. Students in the government class were challenged to raise awareness by educating on a specific problem or issue, and subsequently promote a specific civic action to address this problem or issue. Two of these students, inspired by the tragic suicide of Suzy Gonzales, a California native whom was encouraged by online “suicide groups” to take her life, opted to use this class project as a venue to bring awareness about suicide prevention and a law that would prohibit internet users from encouraging others to complete suicide. They wrote and produced a public service announcement that brought the issue of suicide out into the open, where it needs to be. Suicide, which is the third leading cause of death among teenagers ages 15-24, cannot be ignored; however, it is not a topic most adults feel comfortable addressing, let alone teenagers! Two Wheaton teens were brave enough to speak out and make a difference, countering norms and setting an example. For that, we thank you.

– Jodie Segal, Director of Education