Students perform at talent show for suicide prevention

Carol Kornworcel, News Editor


Sixteen different groups of students performed for the Be The Voice for Hope talent show April 23 in the auditorium to create awareness for suicide prevention. 

This was the second annual Be The Voice talent show, organized by junior Emily Surak. The purpose of this talent show is to showcase different students’ talents to raise awareness for suicide prevention. 

“I wanted to produce this originally because I’ve had multiple friends over the years that have struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts, and I realized that this was a big issue in our community,” Surak said. “I won the Lightning Heroes of Tomorrow scholarship which inspired me to produce it again this year.” 

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention had tables set up to present and talk about their organizations. Ken Gibson, the director of marketing and public relations, attended the event with Emily Weir, a representative of the center. 

“The Crisis Center is glad to have some way to interact with the teens in the community,” Weir said. “People don’t typically want to talk about it, thinking that if they don’t talk about it then it won’t happen. We would much rather have some sort of way to inform people and tell them how to address it and resolve it, and a talent show is a great way to do it because its where kids are and what interests them.” 

A rock band made up of five students called Zenith opened the night performing their original song, Sparks Fly. Lead singer and senior Alex Cheatham has performed in this talent show last year with the Pink Panther acapella group. 

“It was so amazing,” Cheatham said. I love performing and I love performing rock music the most because it’s so thrilling and so fun. You can dance to it, you can rock to it and have a great experience in general, especially to perform in front of smiling faces which is really nice.” 

The judges of this show were Anna Morris, Olivia Fiss, Grymes Cannon and Father Len Plazewski. Their top three choices for winners were junior Megan Martinez in first, sophomore Avery Franks in second and junior Caroline Baird in third. 

“I think this event is so important to have because so much of depression and suicidal thoughts is based on a feeling of loneliness,” Martinez said. “This kind of event shows people that no matter what they’re going through, they have a basis of support for them.” 

Sophomore Parker Shaw performed a self-written standup comedy routine about three different movie theater experiences he has had. This was the first time he has performed in this talent show. 

“I think stand up is a very under-represented part of comedy in schools,” Shaw said. “People would just have random outbursts and it would be funny, but its rarely seen on formal school stages and settings. I thought I might as well do that about something that I really care about. 

The Pridettes made a special appearance during the performance, sophomore Veronica Dominguez, who sang an original song, and Reilly Howard, who made a parody to Woman Like Me by Little Mix. Freshman Katie Briet performed Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell. 

“Being able to perform in this event felt really good because there have been experiences in the past with friends and just people around me who have dealt with these things and it’s a hard subject to cover, but I really like supporting that and bringing awareness to it,” Briet said.