July 1, 1997

(Copyright 1997. All rights reserved.)

Local high school journalists are honored with award

BRISTOL -- A group of high school journalists
who publish a teen page in The Bristol Press won
this year's Distinguished Service Award from the
Connecticut Committee for Youth Suicide
Prevention.

Nine students who write for The Tattoo were
honored Wednesday for expanding public awareness
about teen suicide with their Dec. 30, 1996
single-topic issue that focused on the problem.

"We were tremendously impressed," said committee
president Susan Giglio, who directs a crisis
intervention program for Waterbury youths.

Annette Champagne, a Terryville resident who
serves on the 15-member statewide panel, said
she read the page in her copy of The Bristol
Press when it was published.

"I was just amazed," said Champagne. She said
she couldn't believe how well the students
researched and wrote about teen suicide.

They were also "very sensitive to everyone's
feelings," said Champagne, who is the program
director for the Salvation Army's youth shelter
in Waterbury.

Champagne said that it was "really neat" the
students did so much work to raise awareness
about teen suicide instead of leaving the issue
to adults.

"I have never before seen such an effort by a
group of kids," said Champagne, who brought the
project to the attention of other committee
members.

The Rev. Thomas Ely, an Episcopal priest on the
committee, said that suicide experts around the
state were impressed by the teens' work.

The winning students were Danielle Ouimet,
Amanda Lehmert and Aimee Lehmert of Bristol
Central High School; Bryan Pena, Michelle
Driscoll and Brian LaRue of Bristol Eastern High
School; and Mark Cyr, Paul Bartok and Shauna
Fauchon of St. Paul Catholic High School. All
live in Bristol.

The students were presented with certificates
during a small ceremony at the Press.

The youth suicide prevention committee, founded
in 1986, consists of mental health
professionals, the clergy, school officials,
youth service workers and others concerned about
the problem.

It is the state chapter of the American
Association of Suicidology and works to reduce
suicide attempts and to change the conditions
that lead young people to try to kill
themselves.

The Tattoo's teen suicide project has already
captured a National Gold Key award for
top-flight journalism by high school students
and a second place finish for in-depth
journalism from the Connecticut Society of
Professional Journalists.

The Tattoo is a student-written page published
in the Press on occasional Mondays. During
weekly sessions at the paper, its volunteer
members learn the ins and outs of journalism
from two Press reporters who donate their time,
Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins.

The suicide prevention panel also honored
Majerus, Collins and the Press for helping the
students pull off their project.

The teen suicide project, along with many other
Tattoo stories, can be seen on the Internet at:
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Majerus
_Collins


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