Name: Alexis Misco
From: Lena, Wisconsin
Making a difference
State Superintendent, Carolyn Stanford Taylor recently addressed
educators and school board members at the 99th state education
convention and shared this staggering fact, “Our Youth Risk
Behavior Survey data tells us that 40 percent of our students are
indicating high levels of anxiety, 28 percent depression, 17 percent
self-harm, and 16 percent thought about suicide.” When I think
about these statistics, along with the fact that in rural Northeast
Wisconsin Oconto county one in four adults report excessive drinking
in the last 30 days (Wisconsin County Health Rankings Report, 2019)
and hospitalization for opioid use in our county has more than
doubled since 2005, I know that our national addiction crisis is
visible my community.
someone is dealing with addiction it has a widespread impact. An
individual often becomes hyperfocused on whatever they are addicted
to and school, family, work, and friendships will take a backseat.
They can become so focused on where and when they can get their next
“fix” that they will take risks, like drinking and driving, or
they may look for illegal ways to get money so they can buy more
drugs. As a society, our prison systems are overcrowded and many
inmates had addiction problems at the time that they committed their
crimes. For those who are able to seek help, hospitals and treatment
facilities are often inaccessible to those without good insurance or
the means to privately pay. Addiction creates a need to react to a
problem rather than allowing communities and society to be proactive
in preventing the addiction from occurring int he first place.
am honored to have been accepted to the University of Wisconsin, La
Crosse and plan to pursue a degree in psychology. I envision that
after my college graduation, I will work in a rural setting
supporting individuals to improve their mental wellness. I have
learned that there is a huge need for mental health services in rural
areas as people who live in rural settings are traveling to
appointments, requiring them to miss school or work often preventing
them from seeking help. I hope for a world where all people who need
mental health support have access, no matter where they live.
a high school senior, I have unfortunately seen some of my friends
turn toward drugs and alcohol as a way to deal with their stress and
depression. I have seen them lose their way and forget who they are
and what they stand for. This is why I feel that in order to have
the most impact we should intentionally work with students to develop
resilience skills. It important from an early age that we start to
help children identify who they are, what they are good at and who
they can go to when they need help. Through school lunch and
physical education programs, we can teach children about making
healthy choices that make them physically and mentally stronger.
have faith that we can improve the mental wellness of individuals,
our communities, and our nation through increasing access to mental
health services and by educating our youth in resilience skills.
Should you award me this scholarship, I will use it to make a
difference. Thank you for your time and consideration.