Parent Newsletters and Communications

To:      MTA Students, Parents, Guardians, and Staff

From:  Donna F. Brunette, Principal

RE:      Sources of Strength - What Are You Grateful For?

Date:   November 26, 2019

Last month a group of Mt. Ararat High School students along with five members of our staff participated in a training called Sources of Strength (SOS).  The choice to recruit student leaders to engage in this training was the result of our Teens for Change group working with Michelle Selby, MTA Social Worker, to consider goals for the coming year focused on fostering a positive, safe culture in our school for all students.  Ms. Selby was aware of the SOS program which Mid Coast Hospital was making available to schools in our area as part of a grant initiative focused on mental health and wellness for our youth and when the members of  the Teens for Change group heard about the program and opportunity for training they decided this would be good for our school.

On October 18, 2019, 35 students accompanied by Ms. Selby, Kelly Lynch, Jen Green, Kelsey Fogg, Sarah Hickman, and Julie Petrie in our Learning Commons for a day long training with SOS Founder and President Mark LoMurray.  Students learned about SOS mission and which is "to provide the highest quality evidence-based prevention for suicide, violence, bullying and substance abuse by training, supporting, and empowering both peer leaders and caring adults to impact their world through the power of connection, hope, help and strength" (https://sourcesofstrength.org/discover/.  Activities designed to help students reflect on their strength and connect a diverse group of individuals with a common purpose.  As a result of the training, these students are prepared to work collaboratively to help others in our community get connected.  This video captures our students presenting their message: MTA Students Spreading Hope Health, and Strength.

After the training, students immediately went to work planning for their first school-wide activity which focused being grateful.  Did you know that "practicing gratitude can have a huge impact on your life. The actual physical makeup of the brain changes and makes people more positive, joyful and content." (https://sourcesofstrength.org/thankfulness-challenge/). Our SOS Team organized a "Thankfulness Campaign" prior to the Thanksgiving break and asked all students and staff to record something they are thankful for on feathers which are now displayed on the wall outside our Learning Commons.