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By Dave Rogers
For the Record 

Designing students brighten schoolmates' days


Last updated 5/11/2021 at 9:36pm

Students in Bridge City High School’s floral design classes stay busy year-round.

“We do all the flowers for school,” instructor Debbie Gregg said. “Any time there’s a big dance, we do the presentational flowers.

“It starts in the fall with homecoming flowers and we finish up with graduation.”

But for the last couple of weeks, Gregg’s students have been tending to a new project – one for some, that’s sadly all too meaningful.

The 60 students in BC’s four floral design classes each put together one or more arrangements to acknowledge that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Tuesday, they placed the vases full of flowers on tables in the school cafeteria and library, along with cards to remind fellow students that help is available.

“Teen suicide is a lot more common than people think,” Whitleigh Moreau, a second-year floral design student, said.

“Mental health is big. I’m glad we can bring attention to the cause,” said Cameryn Church, another student.

The project was the idea of one of the Bridge City students. A couple of other students in class Tuesday said they were inspired to take part because they or their family members suffered from depression or other mental health issues.

“Different flowers, when they come together as an arrangement, can really spread joy,” Kaylee Palermo, another student, said.

The cost for the arrangements was paid by an AWARE Grant, a program run by the Region 5 Educational Service Center.

AWARE stands for Advancing Wellness and Resiliency Education, explains Lynda Willie, Region 5’s community program manager in charge of AWARE.

“Our focus is on positive mental well-being,” she said.

“High school is when kids are finding their identity and with the influence of social media and COVID, a lot of today’s students have a negative self-image.

“We’re able to bring resources to Bridge City to educate the students, their families and the school staff on signs and symptoms to watch for.”

Amber Phelps accompanied Willie to view the students’ work as it was being set up on the tables.

“We provide resources so the district can do a lot of training,” she said. “We have two mental health therapists and we service all the schools in the district.

“Teachers, based on what they’ve learned, if they detect signs or symptoms, can refer students. Students can get outside help for free, do teletherapy, or in-school therapy.

“And not just students, but staff and family members as well.”

Gregg joined her students in a sense of accomplishment.

“Hopefully, by bringing awareness, if we can save one kid from hurting themself, it would be an awesome thing.”


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