What’s Right With Our Schools: Houston County School District launches “13 Reasons Why Not Campaign”

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HOUSTON COUNTY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Houston County School District started an initiative to give students hope and encouragement to overcome adversity.

Some students say it has changed their lives. The Houston County School District has used the Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why?” and created something positive for their students.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Zabrina Cannady SAYS, “We had young people taking permanent measures when they had temporary problems.”

So they started the “13 Reasons Why Not Campaign.” This campaign allows students to speak out and share their stories of adversity in the hopes of encouraging others.

Cannady says, “If we can make a difference with one person, we will have achieved our goal.”

For 13 weeks, the district launches a video on their website each week, highlighting other people stories including faculty who are or once dealt with issues.

“Our 13 superstars are just absolutely amazing and the stories they share just really can speak to everyone,” Cannady explains.

Houston County found the initiative beneficial to students who share similar stories to Macee Mclain’s. Mclain was once a student at Houston County High School who battled long term depression which led to attempted suicide.

“I battled this really dark time in my life for about 5 or 6 years. During that time I never thought that I would ever overcome it. So I think sharing my story and showing that I’ve made it and other people made it, you can me it too,” McClain explains.

Now with Houston County taking on a more hands approach, they hope to see a significant decrease in depression in students and a healthier environment in the schools.

Science Teacher Randi Collier says, “We’re going to do whatever it takes to get kids where they need to be and to become adults where they can have children and have families and live the life they’re meant to live.”

Dr. Cannady says the goal is for viewers to know life has its ups and downs, and people are there to help. The 13 reasons why not videos and podcasts will also be released weekly on social media.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 303 Karlisha Booze joined the 41NBC news team in October 2013 as the producer for 41 TODAY. A year later, reporting for Channel 17, the Bibb County School District channel, was added to her responsibilities. Born and raised in Macon, Karlisha is proud to be in her hometown doing what she loves to do. Karlisha's passion for news began in elementary school where she anchored the school's morning news and got an opportunity to try out for the Junior Journalists at WMAZ. She also performed in commercials with Kids Voting Georgia, for Bibb County and Cox Communications. Prior to working at 41NBC, she was a news intern at WGXA and was later hired as a production assistant and worked as a fill-in anchor/producer for the station's morning news broadcast. Karlisha graduated from Middle Georgia College in 2009 with an Associate of Arts (Communications), from Fort Valley State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications), and from Ashford University in 2014 with a Master of Arts (Organizational Management). She is currently pursuing a Doctorate focusing on Business Administration. In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry and spending time with family and friends, especially her son, Ka'Dence. If you have any story ideas, please pass them along!