Student club wins first place in statewide suicide prevention contest

Williamsport Area School District  |  Posted on

Screenshot of the winning video entry

A Williamsport Area High School (WAHS) video produced to help raise awareness on mental health stigmas and suicide prevention received first place in a recent statewide PSA contest conducted by Prevent Suicide PA (PSPA). The video, created by members of the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club, earned the top spot in the 60-second category through online votes received from both students and the broader public.

“Facilitating this group of young leaders has been extremely rewarding,” said Jeremy Steppe, the club’s advisor and health and physical education teacher. “Our students have identified concerns within our adolescent community and worked diligently to create innovative ideas and advocate for resources that address these needs. The maturity and compassion demonstrated by the members of WAHS SADD Club will ignite hope for our future generations.”

The high school’s winning video depicts a sequence of students staring into the camera with tape across their mouths while holding up posters that display some of the myths surrounding mental health issues and suicide. The second half the PSA shows the same students tearing off the tape, representing their commitment and advocacy to “break the silence” and to speak up to save a life.

Those responsible for the video are Steppe and WAHS SADD Club members AnnaKate Gillespie, Kennadi Godfrey, Madeline Pennings, Matthew Gerrity, Micai Harris, Ava Matz, Connor Poole, Holden Furey, Patrick Nardi, Michael Harry, Madeline Shaffer, Kanina Lattie, Shamika Johnson and Christian Mumford, with production assistance from Greg Hayes, the district’s public relations director. The club will be recognized for their winning production at an upcoming MLB game, date to be determined.

The aim of the annual contest is to empower and give rise to youth voices in the prevention conversation using “new and creative ways to share resources with our communities,” according to PSPA. To view the high school’s video, visit or