Students in Joe Dockery’s digital media class and the Mount Si High School key club have joined together for java-based prevention.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24 in Washington state and the U.S. On average, Washington loses about two youths to suicide each week.
For Mount Si High School (MSHS) students, that number is too high. MSHS is one of more than a dozen Washington public high schools that has implemented the Forefront Suicide Prevention program.
The program supports high schools in applying a capacity-building, comprehensive and sustainable approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention. Through engagement by multi-disciplinary teams and a robust model of ongoing training and consultation, each school transforms its school climate and practices to reduce student risk for suicide.
The program lasts three years, beginning in the fall. MSHS is finishing its third year with the program and students want to keep the program. The program costs $15,000 per school.
Students have been searching for ways to raise funds to support the program. Joe Dockery’s digital media students and the school’s key club joined together to design, manufacture and sell coffee mugs and coffee sleeves.
“It’s a great way to take a class project and make a real world connection,” Dockery said. “It’s great to have students see their work make a difference and connect to the community.”
Cameron McCrea, a sophomore, is one of Dockery’s design students. She said she enjoyed designing the mugs and the coffee sleeves.
“A lot of times we do homework assignments and write papers and do projects just for a grade,” she said. “It was cool to make something that we can actually see a real-world connection.”
The students created the coffee sleeves from recycled cereal boxes and used the school’s laser to create different designs. Students used them as the plain white coffee mugs as the canvas for their holiday and school-themed designs.
Dockery’s class has been working on the projects since the beginning of December. Senior Maximo Jimenez said the purpose of the project was what he and other students found as the most rewarding.
“Suicide is a prevalent issue at our school, and the program we have helps educate people more about it,” he said. “It’s like a tangible impact.”
Sophomore Ivan Dyshlevich and senior Rowen Higgins said it was a cool experience to make something they could sell.
“It was almost like a real business,” Higgins said.
“It was a little competitive among all of us like seeing whose designs were being ordered more than others, but it was great to have something out there that we all know we made,” Dyshlevich said.
For the students, they said it was a wonderful opportunity to make a product, sell it, and have the proceeds go toward something they care about. As of early January, the students have raised some $400 to go toward funding the Forefront Suicide Prevention program.