Out of Darkness Campus Walk returns to Centennial High in fight against suicide

Out of Darkness Campus Walk returns to Centennial High in fight against suicide


Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young Tennesseans ages 15-24, yet suicide can be prevented.

Students, parents, and supporters from throughout Franklin, TN, and surrounding areas will come together to raise awareness about suicide loss and depression, particularly among children and teenagers, by participating in the 4th annual Centennial High School Out of the Darkness Campus Walk, hosted by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP-TN), and STARS (Students Taking A Right Stand).

The walk is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 30, 2019, at Centennial High School, 5050 Mallory Lane in Franklin. The event will be held on the track by the football field.

Registration for the walk is available at https://afsp.donordrive.com/event/Franklin. This fundraising walk supports the AFSP’s local and national education and advocacy programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.

Speakers at the Centennial High School event will include Franklin Mayor Ken Moore, Franklin Police Chief Deborah Faulkner, and STARS student Senior Annie Boggs, who will share a hopeful story of her struggle with depression. CHS Senior Jack Woods will act as Master of Ceremonies beginning at 11 a.m. The CHS Choir will also be performing during the event and there will be a simple art project during registration.

“The Out of the Darkness walk gives our students a voice and a place to bring awareness of these important issues that many teenagers struggle with,” Centennial High School STARS Counselor Meredith Powell said. “This event allows our school community to join together to emphasize hope, positive self-worth, and the importance of reaching out for help when needed.”

“In Tennessee suicide is the ninth-leading cause of death, and the third-leading cause of death in ages 15-24. Centennial High School and AFSP are partnering to teach warning signs of suicide and bring students, teachers and the community together to support suicide prevention and mental health issues,” AFSP-TN Chapter Co-Chair Nikki Scott said.

This year’s walk will include tables by Family and Children’s Service, PFLAG Franklin, The Refuge Center, Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, and Mercy Community Healthcare. Marco’s Pizza in Franklin, a Bronze sponsor, is also donating 10 percent of sales from March 23 to March 30, 2019, toward the Centennial Walk. Marco’s Pizza will also be donating five pizzas for sale by the slice at the event. Other generous sponsors include 12-Point SignWorks in Franklin, TN.

The Centennial High School Out of the Darkness Campus Walk is one of more than 150 Out of the Darkness Campus Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 25,000 young walkers and raise over a million dollars for suicide prevention efforts.
“These walks are about turning hope into action,” AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia said. “Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental health conditions.”

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