Gardner Edgerton High School hosted a Zero Reasons Why themed basketball game on February 5 against Shawnee Mission West High School. The Zero Reasons Why campaign was established by the six superintendents in Johnson County as a response to the growing number of teen suicides. The campaign includes a teen council which helps to guide the effort to promote mental health awareness, increase community activity, and prevent teen suicide. Superintendent Pam Stranathan, wanted each student and staff member at GEHS to have a Zero Reasons Why shirt to wear as a reminder that there are Zero Reasons Why suicide is an option. Over 1,000 shirts were distributed during the past week by GEHS student volunteers, Gardner Edgerton Youth & Community Programs Supervisor Ryan Colston, and Coordinator of Student Support Services Melissa McIntire.
During the Varsity Girls and Boys Basketball games, students packed the gym while wearing their shirts. GEHS Cheerleaders passed out Zero Reasons Why bracelets to every person in attendance. Before each contest, the GEHS basketball teams presented each player, coach, and manager from Shawnee Mission West with a bracelet to unify both schools in the cause. GEHS Cheerleaders also presented every Shawnee Mission West Cheerleader with a shirt and both teams sported the shirts as they cheered. “Watching the student athletes come together for a common goal was a wonderful sight to see,” said Ryan Colston. As the campaign continues to evolve, USD 231 plans to host activities for student, parent, and community groups. Gardner Edgerton also plans to host future events in order to promote mental health awareness.