Advocating Aevidum


Students from Nazareth High School, Greater Latrobe Junior/Senior High School, Mount Pleasant High School, and Norwin High School pledge together after completing a workshop for the newly started club at GLSHS.

Anne Dalton, Managing Editor

Aevidum, “I’ve got your back.” This simple phrase is  derived from Latin roots and coined by students for a club that embraces relationships.  It should be heard more often as a way to connect people and build relationships.

Aevidum is a nationwide movement originated at Cocalico High School in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in response to a student’s suicide in 2003. Aevidum thrives because of the stories of Andrew Smith and Josh Johnson, two of Nazareth’s students who took their lives at a young age due to an unseen struggle within.

In response to the desperation,  students, teachers, and administrators of Cocalico knew something had to be done to prevent other tragedies. The club Aevidum was conceived to allow teenagers to feel confident to talk about mental health and suicide prevention in a healthy, proactive way.

Originally called A Helping Hand, Aevidum’s main goal is to break the silence that surrounds mental illnesses such as depression and suicide. Accept, Appreciate, Acknowledge, and Care for–these are the four pillars that the voluntary club wants to  instill in every single person whether inside or outside the classroom.

Out of 10,000 schools, Aevidum has made progress. In 2009 it earned SADD’s National Activity of the Year Award and a year later officially became a non-profit organization.

Aevidum is now a part of over 150 clubs in elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges in Pennsylvania.  Thousands of students have pledged in support of Aevidum and the program is continuously growing across the country. And now Aedium is an integral part of GLSH.

Aevidum motivates teens to use their voices and be confident in making a difference in the school and community.  The movement tries to exhibit a positive culture where students should feel comfortable talking about significant topics such as mental health.

Officially Aevidum became established at Greater Latrobe Senior High School in the fall of 2018-19.  Last year, in its infancy, the club was recognized as Wildcat Wellness, organized by President Adam Hoffman and C’18  Chase Beezer under the mentorship of Dr. Soltys.

“This was the first huge leap we have had in our school to actually impact the lives of those suffering from mental illness,” said Hoffman.

Recent retiree, Dr. Soltys is a consultant to the club for the current advisors Eugene Joe, Supervisor of Pupil Services; Laurie Golobish, Director of Pupil Services; and Jackie Rider, 11/12 Counselor.  The leaders adopted the nationwide, non-profit organization Aevidum, which has curriculum attached.

Rider said, “By adopting Aevidum, we now have access to materials, ideas, training, and guidance that will help all in the long run.”

Hoffman is confident that with more training more can be actualized. “We will change the culture of the school so that it is a place where everyone is welcomed and embraced as they go through the halls simply even with just a smile,” said Adam Hoffman.

“I think this program is something that should be worldwide,” said sophomore Brooklyn Bradley, who attends Nazareth High School. “Nobody should struggle through hard times alone and [he] should know someone is there for them.”

Recently, Greater Latrobe Senior High School hosted a workshop in the Center of Student Creativity (CSC).  The core group of Latrobe students in the club were trained on things from coping with personal anxiety to helping others who may be struggling.  

“It seems to me, when we stop to think about how many hours we spend at GLSD, we should all do our part to reach out to each other and make this school a place we want to be,” said Rider.  “It is such an easy thing to do. Never underestimate the positive effect of a smile- of accepting, appreciating, acknowledging, and caring for your fellow students.”

Nazareth students gave training to GLSD leaders. They stayed with a few of the Latrobe students for the night to get to know the student body.  GLSH is the furthest west in Pennsylvania the student experts have travelled to construct a workshop for Aevidum. On Monday, October 22, middle school and high school students from schools around the area such as Mount Pleasant and Norwin, came to the workshop to see how this program could impact their own school in the future.

“The impact Aevidum has on me is SUPER STRONG. It helps me be a more positive and helpful person. It allows me to think more maturely about how my actions could hurt someone, no matter how small.”  

— Brooklyn Bradley


“Aevidum is a club started by students for students and run by students with a positive message that benefits all students,” said Rider.

Aevidum kicked off the program at GLSH  for grades 11/12 in a student-run assembly during the advisory period in early November.  Students recognized the theme of Logic’s song “1-800-273-8255,” which emphasized suicide prevention.  Students understood the four pillars of Aevidum: accept, appreciate, acknowledge, and care for. Students acknowledged that mental health is as significant as physical health.  

After Greater Latrobe Senior, Emma Greiner, posed general questions about loneliness and stress, students realized they were not alone when they noticed fellow classmates standing up around them.

Students identified teachers in the Students Assistance Program (SAP), who are there to confidentially offer assistance.  SAP is available on the 9/10 level as well as the 11/12.

“After the introduction by student leaders, about 16 or 17 teenagers said that they wanted to be a part of the program. That is impressive,” said Rider.

The impact of Aevidum is ever growing and ever changing, so from our students to yours, we want you to know “We’ve got your back.”