By Cassie Kreider
There was a banana in school on Friday September, 13. No, not a real banana; those can be found in the cafeteria. This banana was all flesh and bone under its felt fabric.
At an assembly, it was explained to students that depression doesn’t always stick out like someone in a banana suit does. The person in the banana was a high school student from Cocalico, where the movement called Aevidum, first started.
Ms. Maria Vita, psychology teacher, and Mrs. Kimberly Marsh, a counselor at Penn Manor High School, were approached by the former superintendent of the school, Mr. Don Stewart, about potentially starting a branch of Aevidum at Penn Manor High School.
Vita hopes that starting Aevidum here will “encourage students and faculty to practice behaviors that promote their well-being; no one in this school should feel alone in their struggle or sadness. We recognize that this life can bring trauma and difficulties, and we want a platform where it is acceptable to talk about these heavy ideas (depression, stress, body-image, etc,).
“As a psychology teacher Aevidum appealed to me because there are a growing number of empirical or scientific studies that support positive psychology,” said Vita.
Aevidum, which is a made up word, gets its meaning from its Latin root “vid”, meaning life. According to the Aevidum website, Aevidum in schools means, “a culture of care,” an “I’ve got your back” philosophy that transforms elementary, middle and high schools.
Aevidum was started by English teacher and now Executive Director of Aevidum, Joe Volupas, at Cocalico High School after one of his students, Kyle, took his own life. Kyle’s younger sister, Emily, spoke about her brother’s suicide for the first time here at Penn Manor.
Among the things Volupas called for were musicians, skaters, artists and athletes to help spread the word of Aevidum as far as possible, with songs written about friendship, skateboards with the Aevidum logo on the bottom, posters promoting Aevidum and videos showcasing what Aevidum is all about.
Aevidum is an “empowerment movement that is creating a culture of care where every single person matters.” People need to believe in the voices of youth, said Volupas.
Volupas went on to say that, “suicide is almost 100 percent preventable.” It’s everyone’s job to get their friends to a counselor, a teacher or to someone who can and will do something to help that friend out.
Olivia Bailey, a senior at Penn Manor High School, said she joined Aevidum because, “I have a couple of friends who have gone through really hard times and I loved the whole idea of the club and how it tries to promote a positive atmosphere throughout the entire school.
Because Aevidum hasn’t officially started at the high school yet, a few students have been working to get students to pledge Aevidum, which means pledging to help a student in need.
Bailey said that so far, about a hundred students have signed up. Aevidum will most likely split up between the club days so that certain students come on different days.
For more information, there is an official website for Aevidum, http://aevidum.org/. Vita has also started her own wikispaces page for Penn Manor’s branch of Aevidum, http://pmaevidum.wikispaces.com/.
Aevidum will meet Tuesdays in room 316. More information concerning sign-up and meeting times and places will be available in the cafeteria during club sign ups.