LRHS Athletic Trainer Sydney Suppa (r) addresses athletes

Samantha Montano and Sydney Oostendorp– Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- On Wednesday LRHS Athletic Trainer Sydney Suppa organized a mental health assembly for the schools’ athletes.

This event was held in the gymnasium, where there were a variety of booths set up representing both mental and physical health organizations. The students had the opportunity to walk by each table and get free items while talking to group representatives.

Bethany Lynch, a member of the American Cancer Society, shared numerous volunteer opportunities that were provided with the organization.

“We hold a lot of volunteering opportunities for the students to come out and earn their volunteer hours and participate in an organization that they can be a part of their whole life,” said Lynch.

Many of the booths focused on the importance of having someone to talk to in times of struggles.  Many of the organizations provide resources for support.  

Skylit Wingate-Massie, founder of the Plant- A- Seed Children’s Partnership, came down from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to share the purpose of her group and who she aims to help.

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“The program focuses on building self-esteem and more development in kids, focusing mainly on finding their identity at all ages,” said Wingate-Massie.

Once the assembly started, Suppa gave a speech speaking on the struggles that student athletes may face that come with the pressure of a sport. She emphasized the importance of one’s mental health and stated that if at any time the seminar felt too heavy, school counselors would be available in the hallway.

She then introduced the Malkovich family.  In 2020 the family lost their son Dylan to suicide. The father of this family came in to talk about his experience and his grief from losing a son so young.

Malkovich started a non-profit organization for student athletes to talk to someone to prevent something like this from happening. He talked about this organization to give resources to any other students who may be struggling.

This speech moved many students, teachers, and parents.