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Junior-Senior High School Students, Staff Walk for a Purpose

The track at the Cato-Meridian athletic complex was busier than normal on Thursday and Friday thanks to an initiative organized by Junior-Senior High School teacher Julie Hertlein.

Earlier in the week, Hertlein asked staff members to assist in her efforts to raise awareness about suicide. Hertlein registered for the Walk To Fight Suicide at Long Branch Park in honor of Kaiden Tubbert- the son of one of her closest friends- who passed away in 2020. Unfortunately, due to quarantine, Hertlein found out that she would be unable to attend this year's walk.

That's when she asked her substitute teacher and all other staff members for their help.

"I am asking that you take a moment to either share a story with our students about your own experiences with suicide, someone you lost, someone you loved... anything," Hertlein said to staff on Tuesday. "If possible, please take time to walk with one of the classes or even take yours out to join in."

The goal was to walk a total of 1,000 laps between Thursday and Friday, which would equal 250 miles for suicide awareness. Students and staff didn't just meet that goal; they exceeded it. Over two days, students and staff walked 3,940 laps for a total of 985 miles of suicide awareness.

The Junior-Senior High School hopes to continue this event in the future in honor of Kaiden and so many others who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Students walk the track at the Cato-Meridian Athletic Complex