Author, national speaker and Ellsworth Community School District alumnus Tasha Schuh left a lasting impression with the entire Ellsworth Middle School seventh grade class Friday, Sept. 14.
"The kids have gotten quite a few impactful messages this year in a short time, none more powerful than this one," said Principal Jon Dodge.
Schuh is partnering with EMS to promote an ongoing theme of building resiliency, something Dodge refers to as "grit" when addressing middle-level students.
As a survivor of an event which left her a C-5 quadriplegic, Schuh has devoted her life to helping others gain strength from the adversity they face. In the 20 years since her accident-a 16-foot fall to the cement floor of the Sheldon Theater-Schuh earned straight A's in college, designed and supervised the construction of her accessible home, met her husband and business partner, a former WQOW meteorologist, and published two books about her journey, "My Last Step Backward" (2012, revised edition, (2017) and "My Next Move Forward" (2017). She has been an inspirational speaker for over 10 years, presenting on average 60 times per year, in a total of 16 different states.
Schuh's most current work, with a mental health and suicide prevention team, addresses the escalating suicide and depression rates among young people in recent years. She and her team design, prepare and deliver curriculum for schools with prevention goals-often within communities that have experienced a recent suicide. Prompted by her own struggle with depression, Schuh took the leap to create the PITCrew Movement after a high school friend lost her 14-year-old son to suicide a few years ago. Schuh's goal is that the PITCrew Movement, when matched with lasting academic lessons, will stop another school from having to face this most preventable kind of loss.
Her activity-based curriculum, supported with impact videos and options for live presentations from Schuh herself, will complement the PITCrew Movement's premise that meaningful relationships bring purpose and direction to our lives. By sharing her own personal struggles, Schuh builds on lessons that students find captivating and relatable.
Through an invitation to present as keynote speaker at the 98th Annual State Education Convention this January, Schuh will address one of the largest leadership contingencies in Wisconsin schools. Sponsored by WASB (Wisconsin Association of School Boards), this event promotes the most innovative approaches to school improvement in our state.
Her curriculum package, which includes the option to have Schuh present to small classes or at large assemblies of students, will be available for the 2019-20 school year. For further information, visit Tashaschuh.com