Written by Daniel Offner Friday, 21 February 2014 00:00
This St. Valentine’s Day, more than 600 Farmingdale High School students celebrated the holiday in a non-traditional manner to spread awareness to the growing concern of suicide and depression amongst teens and adults.
On Feb. 14, students and faculty dressed in all-purple attire in recognition of the “P.S. I Love You” initiative—a campaign created by West Islip High School senior Brook DiPalma, after her father committed suicide. From the tragedy, DiPalma said she was able to take away something positive, and has since been an advocate for suicide prevention on Long Island.
“It’s really starting to catch on,” said faculty advisor Megan Grant.
In an effort to help spread her message, members of the Farmingdale High School student government created a schoolwide campaign advocating against depression and suicide, while celebrating the importance of unity and togetherness.
Leading the charge, Farmingdale high school senior Molly Retinger said she was insipired to bring “P.S. I Love You” to Farmingdale after meeting with DiPalma at an event last year.
“We wanted to do justice for her,” said Retinger, “by helping spread the word and making everyone know that they are not alone.”
A suicide survivor herself, Retinger said she understands how it feels to be depressed and wanted to bring “P.S. I Love You Day” to Farmingdale to share DiPalma’s message with her peers and let them know they’re not alone.
“It’s a day for friends to put aside all of their differences and just be positive,” Retinger added.
Members of the high school student government celebrated “P.S. I Love You Day” by writing positive affirmations, inspirational messages and taking pictures with friends in a photo booth built by the technology classes. They also helped sell purple t-shirts, bracelets and cookies, the proceeds of which were donated to the Long Island Crisis Center.
Farmingdale High School Principal Glen Zakian praised the student-run government for their efforts to spread awareness through DiPalma’s powerful message—which was simulcast to every classroom in the school.
“If this can help just one person, it would be worth everything,” Zakian said.