GHS Senior Savannah Leist sells a T-shirt to classmate GHS Junior Ally Monan before the Oct. 17, Goodrich vs. Lake Fenton Volleyball games. Funds from the sale go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Photo by Patrick McAbee.
By David Fleet
Goodrich- A semicolon; indicates an audible pause—slightly longer than a comma’s, but short of a period’s full stop.
Senior Savannah Leist’s unique use of punctuation, embossed on T-shirts and jerseys of the Martian Volleyball players aims to inspire students to pause but don’t stop like a semicolon and reach out for help when life gets just too much.
“Suicide is more common today than ever before,” said Leist, 17. “Students are put under pressure to succeed in school and excel at sports way too much. The world expects you to be perfect.”
Leist, a varsity volleyball player utilized her high school Capstone project to bring awareness of teen suicide with a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during the Oct. 17 Goodrich vs. Lake Fenton Volleyball game.
The Capstone project was started in 2013 and is a final project that any student enrolled in an high school English class must complete to graduate. The project allows students to apply all they learned to a meaningful project.
“During my years here at Goodrich I lost two classmates to suicide,” she said.
“This fundraiser was a good way to spread the word there is help out there for other students.”
Leist sold t-shirts and wrist bands to fans in addition to players on Lake Fenton and Goodrich volleybally teams.
“At first I was dreading doing a Capstone project,” she said. “But now I’m really glad to have to opportunity to do this project. Because otherwise I would never have had the opportunity to help others through tough times.”
Leist was a classmate and volleyball teammate of Hannah Dawley, 16, who took her own life earlier this year. Hannah is the daughter of Jeff and Kristie Dawley of Atlas Township.
“October is Suicide Prevention Month,” said Kristie Dawley, who along with Jeff attended the game on Tuesday night. “This is a great event to increase awareness of mental health issues which often go unrecognized. This event will help raise awareness and reduce the stigma for a very real issue high school students contend with today.”