By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Connor Sherod, a junior at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, was shocked last Monday when he was presented with an award from Suzanne O’Dell, a Wright Mental Health representative and coordinator of United for Youth.
“I was really surprised and super excited,” Sherod said. “It was completely unexpected.”
During the school’s morning break, HLWW High School Principal Jason Mix informed the students and staff about the contest, and introduced O’Dell, who presented Sherod with a $500 award.
Sherod heard of the contest from KLKR Laker Nation Advisor Rick Smith about two months ago.
“My aunt saw it online also, and said, ‘you could win,’” Sherod commented. “So I decided to try it.”
Sherod began working on his video and within a week had it ready for submission.
“I couldn’t believe it when he came to me and said, ‘I finished my video, will you submit it for me,’” Smith noted.
He thought students interested in entering the contest would ask questions, he said.
“Connor just jumped right in and did it all on his own,” Smith added.
Entrants had to be high school students; and video entries had to be one to two minutes, and touch on the topic of mental health. The video could not contain any material that carried a copyright, such as songs or pictures.
After submitting the video, it had been a long time and Smith thought his student would be out of luck, he said.
“I got the call from O’Dell that he had won,” Smith commented. “Then I had to keep it quiet, which was very difficult, because I was so excited for him.”
O’Dell informed the students that the purpose of the contest was to “get rid of the taboo feeling for discussing mental illness,” and encourage everyone to “talk about it.”
“We wanted teens to speak to teens,” she noted.
O’Dell presented a giant check to Sherod, and expressed her appreciation for his submission.
“I am so proud of Connor, what he did was awesome,” Mix commented. “Mental health is a tough subject to talk about.”
Mix also expressed his appreciation for the KLKR Laker Nation club.
“I’m impressed with KLKR and what they do, it really is a great club,” he stated. “What KLKR does is amazing, and this just solidifies the club’s ability to get good information out to the community. We have had awesome support from the community, as well.”
Sherod lives in Howard Lake with his parents, Joe and Jeanne; and his siblings, Kylee, and Kiera.
A link to the winning video is available at www.herald-journal.com.
Wright Mental Health
Wright Mental Health is a coaliltion of mental health professionals, volunteers, community members, and criminal justice professionals.
Its goal is to raise awareness about mental health issues and resources available both locally and state-wide.
Wright Mental Health works to bring discussion about mental health to the forefront and educate local communities about what can be done to help.
The orgranization’s slogan, “Talk about it,” was created to open discussion regarding mental health issues, and help people feel less isolated or alone.
Wright Mental Health funding is provided by United Way of Wright County, and United for Youth of Buffalo.