Heroin usage is currently plaguing the nation, particularly Northeast Ohio. For some students, the epidemic is hitting a little too close to home. Their neighbors, loved ones and friends are being affected by the drug and its devastating effects. Students from Perry High School and Harvey High School decided that they were done watching their communities fall victim to heroin and planned an event to bring awareness to the issue. The two schools worked together to host a vigil in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to the heroin epidemic. The vigil featured speakers including a former heroin addict whose family has been affected by the addictive drug.
Through their event, the students from the two schools hoped to bring awareness to the epidemic and provide the community with resources. They handed out purple ribbons and bracelets, and ended the ceremony with a candle-lighting ceremony and a moment of silence to honor the victims of heroin usage.
This event, like so many others, came about through the Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) HPAC program founded at NEOMED. Students throughout Ohio are given the opportunity to identify local health concerns and create projects to address the issues found. Through the projects they design, they work to improve community health problems such as obesity, drug addiction and low self-esteem. The organization engages students interested in the health professions by providing them resources to play an active role in their local communities, learn about real-world circumstances of where common health issues can occur and make them aware of just how close to home the issues can be.
On April 23, hundreds of students, including those from Perry High School and Harvey High School, gathered in the NEW Center to share their projects and how they implemented change in their community. Groups had the opportunity to give a presentation and set up a professional poster filled with information about their research and implementation processes.
Throughout Scholar’s Day, judges score the posters and presentations based on the students’ ability to identify a community health concern, develop a project that addresses the health concern, implement their project and present their results to an audience. Students also have the chance to visit their peers’ posters, allowing them time to ask questions and find projects that address health issues similar to those they tackled.
The event, as well as the organization, is all about promoting a stronger sense of community. By allowing students the opportunity to share their ideas with other students and by giving them an outlet in which they can implement community outreach programs, they are expanding their personal networks and proving that they can promote change in their local communities.
Here is the list of winners from HPAC’s fifth annual Scholar’s Day:
- Fair Guide- Cleveland School of Science and Medicine
- It Can Happen to You- Artemus Ward Elementary School
- Fun and Fitness on the County Line Trail- Norwayne High School
- School Supplies Project- North High School
- Dynamic Darlings- Bio-Med Science Academy
- SCHAPE: Changing the School Landscape- Marietta High School
- Sleep for Success- Youngstown State University
Oral Presentation Winners
- Overcoming Obstacles Through the Arts- West Holmes High School
- Childcare for Parent Sanity- Warren Local
- Heroin Heroes- Harvey High School
- Puppy Pit- Lake High School
- Commit to be Fit- Kent Roosevelt High School
- Soul Garden- NIFH STEM
- GATHER- Cleveland State University
- P.O.W.E.R.- Warrensville Heights High School
- Just a Pen Away- Maplewood Career Center
- Helping Hands- Southeast Middle School
- Personal Hygiene Project- North High School
- PTSD-The Invisible Wounds of Our Male and Female Veterans- Twinsburg High School
- Permaculture Corner: Sustainable Landscaping for a Healthy Community- Hiram College
- Glow Again- Lake High School
- HPAC Principal of the Year: Christy Nickerson- New Tech East
- HPAC Teacher of the Year: Mrs. Summers- MC2 STEM
- HPAC Advisor of the Year: Mr. Piechowski- Brooklyn High School
- HPAC Physician of the Year: Jack Pascoe, M.D., M.P.H.- Dayton Children’s Hospital
- HPAC Community Champion: Angela Bennett, Esq.
- Community Collaboration Award: Heroin Heroes- Harvey High School
- College/High School HPAC Collaboration Award: CPR! One Life at a Time! - Baldwin Wallace University
- New HPAC Award: Norton High School
- Sustainable HPAC Award: New Wave Farmers- Windham High School and Gama- Ginn Academy
- HPAC Growth Award: Big/Little Knights- Newbury High School
- HPAC Creativity Award: Biocos Healthy Skin Care- Choffin Career and Technical Institute and Larp Nation- MC2 STEM
- NEOMED Americorps Members Choice Awards: Heroin Heroes- Harvey High School and Cultural Diversity of Healthcare- North High School
--Gabrielle Biltz is a senior at Bio-Med Science Academy and an intern in the NEOMED Office of Public Relations and Marketing.