by Sophie King
In light of the tragic events of the past year in Newton, this school’s PTSO officially launched their yearly Educational Excellence Campaign (EdEx) Friday, May 16, with a focus on social-emotional support and cultural awareness, according to campaign co-chair Marcia Tabenken.
Some of the proposed initiatives that EdEx 2014 could help fund include licensing for Physical Education teachers to train students in self-defense techniques, an after-school peer support club, parent workshops on teen mental health issues, student-led cultural education activities, and signs of suicide training, according to the campaign’s website.
Tabenken said that the campaign is timely because these problems have been “such a big issue this year,” and “the need for these types of programs has really been highlighted in the Newton community.”
The campaign hopes to raise $20,000 or more through the end of the year in order to sustain these programs for a few years, relying mostly on individual donations, according to Tabenken.
“It’s really phenomenal what parents and the community do to provide for us,” said Prevention/Intervention counselor Allison Malkin, who is involved with social and emotional health issues at this school. “The fact that parents are making this the EdEx campaign speaks volumes,” she added. “That’s a first.”
Body Confidence and Awareness Day, Anxiety and Depression Awareness Day, pro-kindness packets filled with symbolic goodies for incoming freshmen, and a community discussion on cultural stereotyping are some recent programs at this school that could be supported by the campaign in the future, according to the campaign’s website.
Sophomore Alena Ferreira, who was involved in planning Anxiety and Depression Awareness Day, described the campaign as “awesome and much needed,” and said in an email, “I think that everyone teaming up and working together to help support those people in this community who need a hand to hold is so important. Campaigns like these really enforce that awareness of the importance of these mental health issues.”
Funds from the campaign will be available for faculty and students to apply to if they have any ideas for its uses, said Tabenken.
“There are so many ideas and ways to raise the awareness of mental health issues,” said Malkin, explaining the value of the fund.
The EdEx campaign has raised over $150,000 since its launch in 2007. Its past achievements include support of the Green Campus project, the Innovation Room, library resources, and interactive whiteboards, according to the campaign’s website.