Students wear bows, raise awareness as part of “Campaign for Kindness”

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Spencer Kincaid

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Students wore bows and bow ties on Thursday, May 1 to support suicide awareness and to honor the memory of former Male High School junior Maddie Yates, who took her life in mid-April.

The day was part of a new “Campaign for Kindness,” a concept started by Ms. Erica Cooper (English) to show how Manual, largely known as a school of rich academic background, is also one of kindness and caring.

“We are proclaiming that we are going to be kind to each other, and not to forget that in our busy schedules and our AP testing that we need to worry about other people,” said Ms. Cooper.

Although Cooper conceptualized the campaign, Madison Ferriell (11) chose to organize and promote the day of remembrance, which she called “Bows for Maddie.”

“Maddie was a lot like any of us,” said Ferriell. “She got a 30 on her ACT. She got into GSP. She had a very bright future, but she decided to end her life and I think that that could be any of us.”

Male organized a similar demonstration of remembrance the week the tragedy took place, where hundreds of students from the school wore the accessories to honor their lost classmate and friend. The students made the idea of wearing bows because Yates was known to often have a bow in her hair.

“Some people say we are ‘glorifying’ it instead, but I don’t think so,” said Male junior Bailey Hendershot. “It’s a good way to raise awareness because the idea will get spread around the community and more and more people will be aware of her story and the signs of depression.”

The event was received positively by the Manual student body as well as teachers, including Mr. Aaron Morris (Mathematics), who wore a bow tie and took a moment of silence for Yates at the start of his classes.

“I think that by wearing the bow ties, if we can keep one kid from being in that loneliness and by having them know that people care, maybe we can save a life,” said Morris. “And I would wear a bow tie every day if that’s what it takes.”