Racing to Save Lives

By Stephanie Snyder, Staff Writer

A race against suffering, hosted for the people by the people. 

The West Bend High Schools 5k Butterfly Run was held at 8 a.m. Sunday on the campus track that the schools’ cross country teams use. This was the seventh annual WBHS event to support the prevention of suicide. The event was run by the Youth Impact Club and overseen by West teachers Jackie Schmoldt, Michael Herther and Sally Heuer.

The Youth Impact Club was founded by Schmoldt after her son died by suicide in 2019. At the event, Schmoldt, who teaches social studies, said that since the Youth Impact Club started, the suicide rate at the high schools has been zero.

Schmoldt added that all proceeds from the run will go to the club’s efforts to prevent suicide.

West junior Andrew Hartzell watches as runners complete the track during Sunday’s 5k Butterfly Run.

Many people helped put the event together and several shared their personal stories. One club member told the story of how she lost her step sister to suicide, saying, ¨I never once thought that I would lose the same person I shared a room with, who I was so close to.¨

Another person talked about their suicide attempt in December, claiming, ¨I have always struggled with my mental health.”

Not only were speakers a part of this event, but so were the racers. First to the finish line was Michael Kelly, with a time of 19 minutes, 26 seconds. Kelly was followed by Jacob Swosinski with a time of 23:33 and Andrew Martin, who finished in 25:12.

(Top image: West sophomore Jessica Stange, left, and East sophomore Addy Bock were among the Youth Impact Club members who volunteered at Sunday’s 5k Butterfly Run. Photos by Stephanie Snyder.)

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