Students Have a Message: P.S. I Love You


The cheerful chatter drowned out the clinking of the bright plastic beads as students and faculty crowded around cafeteria tables to create colorful bracelets. Nearby, North Salem Middle/High School students shaped and painted clay hearts for decorations destined to become gifts for friends.

“I made clay hearts for my friends as reminders that I love and care for them. Then I thought, what if I could do this for the whole school?” said freshman Annaleen, who led the after-school program on clay art and jewelry making. She felt proud of her idea and empowered by the Warr;ors Club to bring it to fruition as the final activity of P.S. I Love You Day. “When people look at their bracelet, I hope they think, ‘wow, someone cared enough to make this for me.’”

P.S. I Love You Day is celebrated in schools nationwide to stand up against bullying, support mental health, and ultimately prevent suicide. The annual event was created in 2011 by a Long Island high school student in memory of her father. In North Salem, the Warr;ors Club has hosted it for several years to advocate for positive relationships and to end the stigma of mental health struggles.

“Making bracelets was a good way to unite North Salem’s community, to talk, to meet new people, and share why we celebrate P.S. I Love You at school,” said senior and club co-president Grace. “It’s important to talk about awareness and where you can get help at a younger age, so you can share with your friends.”

In preparation, club members visited middle school classes to discuss the adverse effects of assumptions and stereotypes. Students discussed labels they have been given by others or by themselves and how even positive labels can be hurtful by putting undue pressure on a person.

“Our goal is to bring awareness of the labels we give others and ourselves. We don’t want to put someone in a box with a label because that nullifies their other qualities,” said club advisor and school counselor Melissa Smith. “We want to shift the narrative; we all have strengths and challenges, and we can grow from them.”

Throughout the day, Warr;ors Club members invited students to play a mental health quiz for prizes, learn about mental health resources, and symbolically throw away labels they had received over the years.

“I’m extremely proud of the work these students do and how they continue to grow their efforts each year,” said Principal Vince DiGrandi. “It’s one more thing we do on a long continuum of supporting mental health at our schools.”

“I think the turnout today was beautiful. I’m really happy that so many kids want to show their support by wearing purple and be involved in such an important day,” said Grace.

Sarah Divi is the Communications Specialist for the North Salem Central School District. This article is part of an ongoing series of stories that showcase student experiences and exemplify the district's mission statement in action.

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