Utah’s Attorney General, Sean Reyes will visit Park City High School on Monday, October 7 as part of state-wide campaign to curb suicide and drug use in teens. He’ll be accompanied by the indie pop band Foreign Figures as well as the inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic. (Voo-yee- Cheech)
Next Monday, Park City High School students will be treated to a concert from the band, Foreign Figures. The indie pop Utah band will play at the Eccles Center at 8:30 … AM. The group will perform and launch this year’s anti-bullying assembly. Bullying and suicide are closely linked especially among teens who are struggling to fit in.
The Utah Attorney General’s office is committed to the program and schools throughout the state take the anti-bullying and suicide prevention discussion in some manner to their student body each year. Foreign Figures drummer Steve Michels says their music and lyrics message kindness to yourself and others. He says they cover a lot of emotional story telling and they’re excited to share their work. He says they plan to perform a number of songs, but one is particularly powerful.
“Hey Love. And we really like to leave that open for interpretation for someone who is listening to the song and connecting with it and carrying the lyrics. For them to let that song speak to their story and their situation. But the general consensus is self-love.”The Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who will also be attending, has been instrumental in creating the mobile app, Safe UT which is designed to provide suicide prevention counseling 24 hours a day. Park City High School Principal Roger Arbabi says Foreign Figures is a hot band with a large teen following. Arbabi explains the Utah Anti-Bullying event held last year addressed 10,000 high school students and focused on the connection between bullying and teen suicide.
“We’ve been chosen as one of two sites in the state that they’re going to be doing it this fall. It’s going to be a big event. They’re going to have a band. They’re going to have three or four speakers. It’s kind of a big to-do but what I love about it is they talk a lot about bullying, alot about vaping, they’re going to talk about opioid use, cyber security. All of those things that really touch our students. I’m really excited about having them here and looking at it through a different lens, hopefully for the kiddos.” Suicide is the 5th leading cause of death in Utah and it is the leading cause of death for youth teens. And, the opiate crisis ravaging so many communities around the US, is part of the discussion. Opiate addiction has hit close to home in the Park City community where in 2016, two eighth grade boys died within days of each other from an overdose of the same synthetic opiate they purchased on-line.
Australian Nick Vujicic is the keynote speaker and brings a presentation called Attitude is Altitude which is a secular motivational speaking organization he founded. He was born with a rare disorder and has no arms or legs. He’ s a Christian evangelist and travels widely speaking about resiliency, bullying and living a full life. Arbabi says the talk he gives for Park City students will be broadcast around the world.
He doesn’t have any arms or legs. But he is a surfer and he can swim, and you know, he talks a lot about being in the dumps and being depressed and all those things. But how you come out of that. You know, if I can do this, anybody can do it. You know, that type of thing.”
Foreign Figures has been active with the Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition and drummer Michels says they’re committed to teaching young people about kindness.
“These assemblies and these rallies around kindness and anti-bullying have definitely saved hundreds and hundreds of lives. If you listen to our music, we definitely have a big array of emotions and lyrical content but definitely centered around that kindness and love for yourself and really just making the world a better place and we really just do that through as troy telling in so many different ways with so many different songs."
The assembly is for 10th through 12 th grade students and faculty. If space allows, Arbabi says he’ll have some of the 9th grade class leadership participate.