Berryhill Middle School, High School Start 'Be A Part' Program
BERRYHILL, Oklahoma - A new program, rolling out this week, is aimed at making students in a local school district feel included and connected to their school.
It's all building off a suicide prevention program several students and teachers have already learned.
Berryhill Middle and High schools are focused on the theme "Be A Part."
That means making sure all students feel they're included and involved instead of isolated.
Messages of acceptance and positivity greeted Berryhill students on their first day of classes Thursday.
The schools have a brand new initiative this year.
"This year's theme based on helping students connect our theme right now is to be a part of Berryhill," said middle and high school principal James Fox.
Last year, several administrators, teachers and students were trained how to prevent suicides as part of a grant they got, called Lifelines.
They've added on to that with the "Be A Part" message.
They're keeping it up by implementing a class where teachers meet with the same group of students each week to check in on their mental health.
"We have a connections class, it's where you're gonna go in and each student has a certain homeroom teacher. You'll have time to catch up and talk to each other," said senior Jenna Gaches.
Gaches said she and 30 other students have been working on the program all summer alongside teachers and faculty.
"The more you're connected with people around you, the less likely you are to feel depressed or separated. That's a big part of it," she said.
They're aiming to make sure every student feels like their piece of the puzzle fits.
"Make sure they're connected and a part of Berryhill," she said.
The "Be A Part" theme and weekly connections classes will be held for 7-12 graders.
They hope to see similar messages of positivity for years to come.