Opinion: WHS needs better guest speakers

Miss Kansas speaks to WHS students during an assembly about seat belt safety. While seat belt safety is important, writer Kendyl Bolinder argues that hearing about the same issues each year does little to educate students.

Speakers should address issues important to students

“Don’t drink and drive.” “Stay drug free.” These are things that high school students are constantly reminded of.

The speakers who come to Wabaunsee are repetitive, and several have the same general message. We should be bringing in better speakers that will be more beneficial for the students.

Speakers are a waste of time for some students. They are missing advisor base and class time to attend mandatory presentations, even though they often have no interest in what the presenters are teaching.

Sophomore Karlee Feyh said, “I think the speakers we’ve had this year are good to hear, but after you hear the same stuff over and over, you tend to stop paying attention. A solution would be to expand the range of topics. We need to have speakers who have a way of reaching students that is more fun than just lecturing.”

There are so many speakers with important platforms that are relevant to high school students today. WHS needs to expand its speaker selection and the topics they cover.

There are things that will impact teens more than lectures about seat belt use and drugs — topics they are already fairly educated on. One great topic is depression and suicide. An estimated 3.1 million teens have had a major depressive episode in the last year. As a student body, students at Wabaunsee high have received little education about this topic, or the things that go hand in hand with it, such as anxiety/mental disorders, bullying, human trafficking, healthy relationships, academic struggles or social media use.

A small group of students traveled to Washburn rural high school earlier this school year to witness a speech by Kevin Hines, who survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. He told the distressing story of his life. He talked about all the people he had lost to suicide, one being his first psychiatrist. He spoke about his struggles with bipolar disorder, his time in psychiatric hospitals and his failed suicide attempt. He reminded people that they they can get through it, and encouraged them to “Be Here Tomorrow.” He was very relatable and had a way of interacting with students that was both fun and inspiring.

Sophomore Ryleigh Jones, who attended the presentation, said “He communicated with us in a way we would understand, rather than just slides on a PowerPoint. His topic was the same as many other speakers, but he stood out. He has been through it all since he was born. He wanted to make kids understand there’s always another option.”

Wabaunsee should be bringing in speakers who will make an impact on students. We shouldn’t select speakers based on the fact that they’ve been here before, or that they don’t cost much. We should put in the time and money to host people who will truly make a difference in our schools.

Kendyl Bolinder, @BolinderKendyl

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