Missed opportunity

In order for students to feel supported, EMHS has to take advantage of every opportunity to engage with students and have open-ended conversations.

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Missed opportunity

Jahlea Douglas, Editor-in-chief

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#1 booked school speaker nationwide 2017, 2018 and 2019, speaking in over 250 schools, Nathan Harmon, gave a powerful message Thursday, Dec. 5. 

Harmon spoke last year towards the end of the school year and it was extremely impactful as he told his story about drugs, addiction and self-harm. Students felt like his presentation reached a wide-range of people but just not everyone. 

This year was different. He did not focus on his personal story. Instead, he focused on mental health, a hot top this year as one in five teens suffer from a mental disorder severe enough to impact their daily activities.

Harmon shared a message that has the potential to impact our whole student body. Harmon said, “It is okay to not be okay, but it is not okay to let your friends stay that way.” 

Unfortunately, this opportunity did not get the attention it deserved. Nathan Harmon gave a phenomenal speech and nothing was done with it, but at no fault to Harmon. He did his part and he did it well. 

With mental health so relevant right now, there should have been something more done by the adults in our building. At the very least, there should have been an announcement letting students know that if they needed to talk to someone, that there were people available to talk to them. Students need to know where they can go and when they can go.

Additionally, there should have been a reflection time. Harmon’s presentation would have been the perfect opportunity for advisory classes to reflect upon Harmon’s message and how it made everyone feel. Having these open conversations with students allows them to know that teachers are there for them to talk any time. 

As a school, we cannot miss these opportunities to engage in well-needed conversations because they do not come around often.

Administration invited Harmon to speak at our school, one of thousands of secondary schools in the United States. It was a great move, but we cannot take this opportunity for granted. Being proactive is the only way our school is going to have a chance in tackling the mental health crisis.

The views in this staff editorial do not necessarily reflect the views of Elkhart Memorial High School or Elkhart Community Schools. Reach our EIC’s at [email protected] and/or [email protected]