WISE gives two awards for contest at Chippewa Hills High School

WINNER: Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy shakes the hand of Megan O'Neil, a senior at Chippewa Hills, and presents her with a check for winning the contest presented by WISE to depict a healthy relationship. (Pioneer photo/Emily Grove-Davis)

WINNER: Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy shakes the hand of Megan O’Neil, a senior at Chippewa Hills, and presents her with a check for winning the contest presented by WISE to depict a healthy relationship. (Pioneer photo/Emily Grove-Davis)

BIG RAPIDS — Two students from Chippewa Hills High School were honored on Monday for their winning submissions in an art competition put on by Women’s Information Services, Inc.

WISE challenged students to show what a healthy relationship should look like through written or visual submissions.

The school’s guidance counselor, Kathy Collins, invited WISE to speak to students on multiple occasions last year and this year as part of the counseling curriculum offered monthly to the students.

The counseling curriculum is a monthly program that focuses on relationships with peers, teachers, family members and their relationship with themselves, Collins said.

For two days each month, the curriculum is administered to students by staff, who are very supportive of the program.

“We want to teach life skills,” Collins said. “Schools teach academics, but we also hope when our students leave us they have some great life skills to help them in relationships and other aspects.”

WISE wanted to follow up on their visits, so they created the contest, Executive Director Kelley Samuels said.

Megan O’Neil, a senior, was selected as the winner for her submission and Morgan Stroud, a freshman, received second place.

O’Neil received $100 and Stroud received $50. The awards came out of money donated to WISE’s Moms Uplifting Moms campaign.

“We really believe successful moms uplift their children, so while this contest was about the students, we wanted to show they had involved, supportive moms helping them to be successful,” Samuels said.

O’Neil and Stroud were both happy to be chosen as the winners for the contest. They agree having the curriculum on relationships taught at Chippewa Hills has been beneficial for the students.

“We had an assembly on domestic violence and some kids really aren’t aware what that looks like,” O’Neil said. “This contest was a good way to get it out there and educate kids on what a healthy relationship looks like.”

Barbara Landgraf, sexual assault advocate for WISE, was pleased with the amount of great submissions they received.

Landgraf said speaking at the school has been a great opportunity and eye opening experience for students.

“Ideally we’d like to get into all the local schools,” Landgraf said.

The submissions for the contest are on display at the WISE administrative office, located at 115 South Michigan Avenue in downtown Big Rapids. They also will appear in the Pioneer’s Arts and Education publication in May.

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Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

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