River Ridge stands up for suicide prevention with game night

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By Correne Martin

 

It was Suicide Prevention Game Night at River Ridge Jan. 31, and a small group of students took the lead to make a difference in their little corner of the world. 

An east-west crossover series of basketball games brought awareness to suicide throughout the Six Rivers Conference. Fourteen varsity and junior varsity games were played across four counties. 

The Timberwolf boys’ team competed against Monticello for its east matchup, but the day and night were about something greater than any battle on the court. 

According to Caron Townsend, high school counselor, a number of schools across the conference and in the area have been touched by suicide in recent years, including River Ridge. So when someone from Shullsburg ignited the idea of a Suicide Prevention Game Night, with support from the Iowa County Suicide Coalition, many schools and especially students thrust themselves into organizing the awareness efforts at their respective high schools. 

At River Ridge, Riley Quick took charge and a few other students joined to form one passionate group “with a sense of purpose, a sense of making a difference,” Townsend said. “They wanted to do something for the cause.”

Others lending a hand were Carolyn Tolle, Dan Kerscher, Colton Moris, Sam White, Emily Struntz nd A.J. Mims.

In total, they raised $897 through the endeavor, which was also a fundraiser for the suicide coalition. 

“They developed a resource table with pamphlets, pens, bracelets, pins and stickers,” Townsend said. “One of the students, Emily Struntz, designed her own T-shirt, so those were sold as well the conference-designed T-shirts.”

River Ridge and other Six Rivers West fans wore teal shirts, while Six Rivers East fans wore purple shirts. The teams also had the T-shirts. All proceeds will go to services that help with suicide awareness.

Also, the night of the game, donation buckets were out, the River Ridge Booster Club donated its 50/50 funds and there was a fun hot shot game at halftime. 

Tieing everything together, River Ridge welcomed motivational speaker Joe Delagrave during the school day on Jan. 31. The Prairie du Chien native discussed his life-altering accident and how he persevered through the difficult times to become a successful wheelchair rugby player and Paralympian, husband and father.

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