Letter for middle school parents

Dear Parent or Guardian,


Educating our students about how to care for themselves and friends is an important task. Students are most likely to talk to their friends when having a problem, and some students entering adolescence experience a rollercoaster of difficult emotions. Depression (among the most common of mental illnesses) appears to be occurring at a much earlier age. Depression is a leading risk factor for suicide, and is treatable. In addition, self-injury has become a growing problem among youth.  While not every student will experience these feelings, any child may find itself in a position to help someone who does


On Monday, April 9th we will be hosting a Guest Speaker named Mr. Von Braun, a former teacher at Greenwood Academy, who will be speaking with our Middle School students (6th, 7th and 8th Grade only) about his experience with the loss of his brother due to suicide.  Here is information about Mr. Von Braun taken from his website, www.mrvonbraun.com

”Roger Von Braun is a NYS Certified teacher turned speaker.  The tragic loss of his brother has led him from teaching lessons in the classroom, to delivering his message from the stage.  He has committed himself to teaching young people how to navigate some of life’s darkest moments.

Using his teaching experience and his Masters Degree in Education, Mr. Von Braun has developed an interactive presentation that is sure to leave a lasting impression on any audience.  His unique ability to connect with students, combined with his authentic portrayal of mental health issues, will inspire and empower your young people to live a life of purpose.  The message is critical, and the results can be life changing.”


This is what he has to say about his presentation:

“The presentation focuses on my brother’s life choices, and the lessons of how your thoughts, beliefs, and perception can shape how you feel about your life.  Students are not only told a story, but are given practical strategies and coping mechanisms they can put to use in their daily life.

Each individual has a story playing in their head.  A story of who they are, where they are in life, and where they believe they are going.  I have designed the presentation to interrupt that story, and to interject messages of resiliency, responsibility, and self-control.”


Following Mr. Von Braun’s presentation, students will be allowed time to process and the opportunity to meet with Mental Health professionals at the school; School Psychologist, Lily Kellogg, Social Worker, Jaclyn Henderson, and School Counselor, Misty Schroeder.  The presentation and follow up will also cover what students should do if they are worried about themselves or somebody else.  Please feel free to visit Mr. Von Braun’s website for more information:  www.mrvonbraun.com.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the school.


If you do NOT wish your child to participate in programming, please sign below and return the form to their Homeroom Teacher by Monday, April 9th at 9:00am. If we do not hear from you, we will assume your child has permission to participate in this presentation.


­Thank you very much!


Rachel Payne-Principal
Marie L. Greenwood Academy

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