When you Google the word legacy, it’s hard to find the definition of the word that you actually are looking for. You find definitions that are tainted with theories of money and inheritances. Because of this, I decided to define legacy in my own way: the impact you make on both yourself and others in some period of your lifetime. If I was asked what I wanted my legacy in life to be, I would have an affirmative answer. However, if i was asked what I want my legacy to be now, it’s harder to answer. You’d expect it to be the opposite, right?
My idea of what my legacy is going to be begins with my PSA project. When starting my PSA project for my Civics and English class, I was flooded with ideas for what I wanted to inform others about. Some involved minority issues, and others involved the environment. The issues that attracted me most, however, were those that involved mental health. Ultimately, the topic I chose for my PSA was mental health awareness. Through my research, I learned that there had been a plan to have a safe mental health place within the school. The second I heard about this plan, I was passionate about it. Because of the alarming statistics on student stress and declining mental health, I am further affirmed in my mind as to why I should do this. I want my legacy to be that I help make this a reality.
The mental health space proposed for the school, as described by the Greenwich Time, the Education Wellness center was going to provide a variety of support systems and a physical space. The project would require 10,000$, a room, and perhaps another social worker or psychologist. In a quote from the event, it is stated that there is no direct need for such a service. Board member Sherr stated, “We don’t have a demand from the state this year.” However, there is always a demand for better mental health services in schools. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death amongst teenagers our age. Why is it that it took me researching so deeply into the topic for me to realize it was that high? Soonafter seeing that statistic, I encountered many more. 49% of students experience a large amount of stress, and 31% encounter some amount of stress. How much more need to we need, especially in a town where expectations are so high for us to succeed in schools? Our SAT scores are so great that Yale and other major schools want to come to our college fairs, but what price does this pay on students in general? The services that this mental health center would provide would include access to information and sources, as well as a soothing area where students can work on homework. This space can provide some homework passes to help reduce student stress, as well as give individuals a place to feel mentally safe.
The first part of what I can do is gather research on the plan already reviewed by the board, and see what is being done about the project. As of right now, I don’t know much about what is already in place. However, I do know that there is something out there. I would start my research with fellow teachers, as well as ask students whether or not they would want something like this. I can also see who else feels as passionate about the project that I do. I believe teachers and students would benefit the most from this plan. In an ideal world, this safe space would provide students the opportunity to escape from a bad day at school without consequence and in turn do better in school with the newfound freedom. This would benefit the teachers as well because of the better grades and overall well being of the students. The second part of what I can do is come up with a plan. After my research is taken, I would see what students want from such a program. In my mind, I would expect a space in between a normal school space and an emergency visit to the guidance office- just without the severity or lack of severity of either. Finally, I would act and work with the school system to see my plan click into a place. My vision of a mental health space would include things such as homework passes and support for anyone who needs it. The space would be aesthetically soothing and provide materials necessary for calming down whoever may need it.
When looking at the reality of the plan, it is also important to look at the reality and possibility of what can be done. I can do this by looking at the future master plan for Greenwich High School. While I won’t be in the school when the master plan is implemented, I want what I create to stay in the school for the last time. My plan doesn’t require much space; we have many learning centers and spaces within the school that could be used.
For awhile, I’ve wanted to perform this project. Writing about my legacy has made me feel passionate and hopeful about the potential that this project provides: a safe space for all. I hope that I can find the motivation and support from others to go through with it.