AIDS Education Day

Johnny Wilcox, Staff Writer

TELLURIDE — As the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to press onward, Telluride High School feels as though one of the best things it can do to combat the spreading of this virus is offer education.

Friday, Feb. 28 marked THS’s 28th annual HIV/AIDS education day for students.

This education day came almost a week after the annual Telluride Aids Benefit student fashion show.  The show is a fundraiser for preventative measures to the virus, including research, education and medication.

The day included multiple activities for students, featuring presentations from guest speakers in a private setting to promote a comfortable environment for students to discuss issues surrounding the epidemic.

This year, the returning featured guests included educators from the Children’s Hospital Immunodeficiency Program (CHIP), Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center, Colorado Health Network/Western Colorado AIDS Project and the San Miguel Resource Center. These names always get THS students excited to participate and interact.

Together, the four groups work together to educate and break the stigma.

THS junior Jack Courter loves coming in for this day.

“My favorite part of AIDS education day is the small group activities with all the volunteers after the main assembly,” said Courter. “This allows for more private or funny personal conversations between the volunteers and us kids trying to learn.”

THS history teacher Jessica Heady has been a strong proponent and collaborator of the education day for ten years.  She feels strongly about the importance of the day and its benefits to our community as well as the entire social network of THS students.

“Sexual health, consent and informed decision making are crucial for young people. Teens have a tendency to take unnecessary risks due to the place they are in their cognitive, emotional and social development,” said Heady. “Education is generally seen as a means to affect the ends.”

The speakers passed on the information and inspired students to work towards educating others and breaking the stigma around HIV/AIDS.

THS senior Lucy Wesson has been in the Telluride AIDS benefit fashion show for the past three years of high school and was director of the show this year. She has participated in the THS HIV/AIDS education day for each year of high school and is a strong supporter.

“I really enjoy the conversations that the students can have with the educators,” Wesson said.

Even though this will not altogether end the disease, schools across the country have been attempting to prevent the spreading of the disease through education.  

For more information on HIV/AIDS education day, visit the Telluride Aids Benefit website at https://www.tellurideaidsbenefit.org/educate.