Following recent school tragedies such as Uvalde, Islip High School freshman Brianna McGowan decided to do something positive to help her peers. She approached her school counselor Nicole Hall, and together they developed the idea of creating a flyer for students that included mental health resources available at the school., on Long Island, and via New York and national hotlines. McGowan also researched social media and included inspiring Instagram accounts and mental health apps. Teachers shared the flyer in their classrooms, and students could also find it on the school’s grade-level Teams pages.
“Because of the Texas shooting, I felt upset and wanted to make something so that students know that there’s a solution to problems and that not all solutions are violent, and so they know that good people are there if they need help,” McGowan said.
“We were trying to think of a way to help, whether in a big way or something small,” Hall said. “There’s a lot of scary news and negativity that’s in our face, so we also included positive news and mental health apps to make it very tangible for other high school students. I think that a future career in helping people in some capacity might be something Brianna could look into. She has a very big heart and that is evident in what she did with this project.”
“As we all were faced yet again with navigating the darkness and tragedy of the events in Uvalde, the passion of a student to be proactive and to make a difference within her school community shined through,” said outgoing Principal Jon LaRochester. “I cannot tell you how impressed I was to learn of Brianna’s willingness to engage and support her schoolmates as thoughtfully and compassionately as she planned. Being as young as she is, it made it even more impressive. It is essential for us as educators to cultivate and support the natural leadership that students like Brianna display. These are the types of young men and women who will change the world, and it’s our job to help them learn how to do so.”