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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Woodson students come together at Cav Strong rally tonight

The public is invited to join W.T. Woodson High School students and families at a Cav Strong Community Event this evening at 8:30 in the school’s stadium to “celebrate the Cavalier Spirit while coming together to support each other.”

The school has been rocked by two student suicides in February—and possibly as many as six in the past three years. Fairfax County Public Schools officials spoke at a community meeting at Woodson March 5 about the need to ensure that students have access to mental health resources.

At the Cav Strong event, students will be encouraged to sign a pledge promising to seek help in a time of need for themselves or someone they know. The pledges will be linked together and displayed inside the school to symbolize the strength and support of the Woodson student body, faculty, and surrounding community.

Cards will be available for students to write down the names and contact numbers of three adults they trust enough to speak to if they need support. The reverse side will have contact information for the CrisisLink Regional Hotline and the National Hopeline Network.

The evening will feature two guest speakers from the Woodson community, the formation of a “W” on the football field, and a candlelight closing. Cav Strong wristbands will be handed out.

Resources on mental health and information on dealing with death and grief have been added to the home page of the Woodson website. At the community meeting, FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza said she plans to convene a group of stakeholders to explore ways to alleviate student stress, and FCPS will hold a summit on that issue for students and parents later this spring.

A local organization, Community of Solutions, has been reaching out to parents and students to explore strategies for helping teens build resilience and cope with adversity.

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