Coronado HOPE Squad brings light to community

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By Madison Kitch

Life-Size// Playing with a set of large Jenga pieces, a student helps raise money for HOPE Squad. The money from fundraising goes back into helping HOPE Squad continue to put on these events. (Photo by Madison Kitch)

Coronado’s HOPE Squad held a suicide prevention walk on Fri., March 4th. Students listened to several speakers and then walked around the track for 20 minutes. A moment of silence was held halfway through to honor those who have lost their lives to suicide.

Mayor Debra March also spoke at the event. She spoke about safety when it comes to restricting means of suicide. She also spoke about how important it is to her that students are taking initiative when it comes to suicide prevention.

“Sometimes a person needs someone to listen to them or to care about them and know that what’s going on in their life really matters,” Henderson Mayor Debra March said. “You all make such an important difference and have such a significant impact in our community.” 

There were several other speakers at the event as well. One of them was Tam Larnerd, a community educator. He was the principal at Spring Valley High School for several years, but a Spring Valley High School student passed away via suicide in 2019. This inspired him to get involved with Nevada’s HOPE Squad chapter.

“We started our HOPE Squad in August of 2020 when we thought kids were coming back to classrooms,” said Tam Larnerd, a training facilitator for Nevada HOPE Squad. “We train our kids to perform what we call intentional outreach, where we’re looking for students who have any warning signs of suicide, and then they have the skills to recognize those signs.”

HOPE Squad focuses on the importance of training students to recognize the warning signs of suicide. Many people will show obvious signs, but being trained in actively seeing them is crucial. A record high of student suicide in Clark County has made programs like HOPE Squad more important than ever to communities. 

“We work with suicide awareness and prevention safety training programs,” said Dominic Terry, a training facilitator for Nevada HOPE Squad. “We also have forms of restricting lethal means. We’re just trying to bring awareness to the Las Vegas area.”

After the memorial walk, several booths for games were open in the parking lot. Games like a donut-eating contest, cornhole, and dumping cold water on teachers were in the area. All games raised money for HOPE Squad to continue doing what they do. There were also two food trucks available with food for purchase.

“I wanted to join HOPE Squad even before Covid happened because I was always really interested in it,” senior HOPE Squad member Katarina Krstic said. “A lot of meetings and group effort over and over made this [event] happen.”

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Madison Kitch is a senior and this year’s Editor-In-Chief for The Roar. This is her fourth year on staff, and she’s excited to end her high school experience on a good note. She enjoys hanging out with her friends but values her time alone more than anything. Her favorite movie is Good Will Hunting, and she enjoys rewatching Bojack Horseman and Gilmore Girls in her minimal spare time. Some of her favorite artists include PJ Harvey, Liz Phair, Pixies, and Green Day. Madison doesn’t know where she plans to go to college yet, but she knows she’ll love it, no matter what.