Opportunities Night in South Summit
State law requires school districts to broach different issues, such as alcohol abuse, bullying and suicide, with students and their parents. However, most of the sessions concerning the topics are not well attended and are poorly executed, according to Shad Sorenson, superintendent for the South Summit School District.
This year, Sorenson said he wants to change that
The South Summit School District, Summit County Health Department, Valley Behavioral Health, and The Peace House will host the first annual Opportunities Night Tuesday, March 1 at 5:45 p.m., at South Summit High School, in Kamas.
"We’ve had parent nights before, but my goal in bringing this group together and planning a conference like this is to not only fill requirements, but to do it in a meaningful and exciting way," Sorenson said. "We are looking at how to help students and parents be more successful and get those resources in the right hands."
Students and adults will have the opportunity to participate in a keynote session and various workshops covering topics such as students’ eligibility for collegiate sports and the resources that are available for Latino students wanting to pursue college.
Surveys have shown that students struggle with many of these issues, Sorenson said, before adding "so we know they do exist."
"The year before I came there were a few suicides in our area and we are aware of them," Sorenson said. "Learning can only take place when a person’s mind and physical body is at the capacity that they can learn. If they are struggling with issues such as eating disorders, bullying or depression, they are not able to learn and progress is stalled.
"Parents are at the front line and spend more time with that person," he said. "If both are geared and educated with signs to watch for, hopefully, they can come to the rescue so they can help them before they do something unfortunate."
The event targets South Summit parents and students, but anyone is encouraged to attend, Sorenson said. As part of the event, students can earn credit to help make up absences.
Information about health and wellness, bullying and substance abuse prevention will be presented. The keynote message will be given by motivational speaker and author John theway. The event is being supported through a grant.
Olivia Gunnerson, a health educator at the Summit County Health Department, said they are hoping the format will be more engaging and spread the message to a larger audience.
"We are hoping to really educate parents a lot on issues that these teens are facing and how to help them through those issues," Gunnerson said. "Speakers will be talking about overcoming adversity, resiliency or your attitude and what you take out of life."
The South Summit School District’s ‘Opportunities Night’ is scheduled to be held Tuesday, March 1 between 5:45 p.m. and 8 p.m., at South Summit High School, in Kamas. For more information contact the Summit County Health Department at 435-333-1506 or the South Summit School District Office at 435-783-4301.
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