Lake Country Now: SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) is one club at Mukwonago High School that looks to not only inspire high-schoolers within the school, but in other elementary and middle schools and the community, as well.
SAVE started in 2006 with English teacher Sarah Dianich. She started the club after a principal with whom she had worked with at a high school in Cazenovia, Wisconsin, died after struggling to remove a handgun from a student.
“When I went to the funeral, held at Weston’s diminutive K-12 gym, I recalled a community much like our own — close-knit, rural, and typically violence-free. I realized that it only takes one moment to shake that feeling of safety to its core,” Dianich remembered. “My friends and past colleagues who were there when it happened will never be the same.”
After the incident, Dianich and other students together started the first SAVE chapter for MHS. SAVE promotes non-violence throughout the school and community, informs people about the consequences of violence and bullying, and works to create a safe environment for students to avoid poor decision-making.
Throughout the year, SAVE offers and creates various projects for the school. America’s Safe Schools Week advocates for non-violence through lunchroom competitions, pledge signing, Orange and Purple Day (SAVE’s colors), and more. SAVE runs the Penny Wars during the holiday season to donate money to the Women’s Center in Waukesha and encourages safe driving practices, too.
Outside of school, SAVE also visits with middle and elementary school students to support anti-bullying and demonstrate what SAVE does at the high school level.
In the upcoming weeks of February, SAVE members plan to take a field trip to Rolling Hills Elementary School. They will meet with their SAVE buddies for the first time since writing back and forth as pen-pals a few times.
Tess Adams, a freshman at MHS, said, “It’s important to teach kids at the elementary and middle schools about SAVE in order to prevent the bullying sooner.”