ASHWAUBENON - A group of students at Ashwaubenon High School is hoping their local idea will have an impact on a global problem.
They're trying to bring increased awareness to the issues of bullying and suicide; issues the students say are very real.
"Bullying is a big problem, and I've been one who's been very bullied and almost took my life twice, explained Junior Christopher Kuehl "Never thought I would be that person, I honestly probably wouldn't be alive if my mom didn't go through my backpack and find my suicide letters I wrote."
Kuehl knows all too well how dark life can get.
The Brown County Coalition for Suicide Prevention reports suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people in Wisconsin.
But luckily Kuehl didn't become a statistic and he hopes to make a difference by telling his story.
"Some people are afraid to come out and admit their problem and it's a good thing for bullies to understand what they're doing, and hurting other people," Kuehl explained.
Kuehl is a member of Ashwaubenon High School's Destination Imagination Team called Team Hope.
Each year, the group competes with other teams on projects based on community needs. The team's project this year? A video on suicide prevention and anti-bullying.
The group interviewed students and staff to raise awareness. Kuehl's story was one of them.
"Bullying is such an issue in schools and they decided they needed to take that issue to make people realize how severe it really is," explained team coach and Christopher's mother, Faye Kuehl.
Team Hope will compete against nearly 100 other teams from area schools this weekend, hoping to take their story to state competition in April.
"We're definitely proud of what we've accomplished in the last four months, we pulled together as a team," explained junior and Team Hope member Micah Brault.
But win or lose, members say their project really only has one purpose.
"That's what the real trophy should be awarded to, a friend who helps those people who everyone ignores," Kuehl said.
With different projects, Team Hope has made it to state the last two years.
If they win one of the top spots in the state competition, they could move on to the global competition in May.
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