Local students fight dating violence, promote healthy relationships

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Students from all across the Wichita Public Schools district will stand up to teen dating violence tonight in a special Final Friday art show and silent auction.

The event is sponsored by the West High Student Leadership Advisory Council (LAC) as an effort to raise awareness about teen dating violence and to promote healthy relationships.

The art show will feature student pieces and other local art on the walls of Vertigo 232 Art Gallery in Wichita.

“There is relationship aggression, teen dating violence, not just physical but emotional, mental, that goes on. The kids know it and just trying to figure out how to combat that and not continue it as a cycle and bringing the awareness out,” said Jill Terhune, a freshman success counselor at West High.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month and that’s the theme of tonight’s show.

“It’s called Beneath the Surface because people try to act like nothing’s wrong but deep down you always know,” said Manny Aguilar, a sophomore at West.

“It’s just cool to show people that you actually do care to help,” said Haylee Strum, a junior at West.

It’s an annual show that west high has taken on as a service project for the last three years.

Along with student art on display, some art will be available for auction and there will be several live performances. The money collected from the silent auction, raffle sales and donations will go toward the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center.

Last year’s event was a success but students hope this year will be even better.

“We raised over $700 last year and we’re hoping to top that this year,” said Kali Shuflat, a junior at West.

The goal is that the success won’t just be in the form of money, but also in helping those in need.

“It’ll raise awareness that way people can benefit and then maybe when we donate the money for the Wichita Sexual Assault Center they can distribute it and help get people out of those hard relationships, Aguilar said.

The event will be from 5:30 to 8 tonight at vertigo 232, which is above Hewitt’s Antiques at 228 N. Market Ave.

It’s free to the public and will include food donated from Taco Shop and The Donut Whole, a proclamation from Mayor Jeff Longwall and performances by local guest artists, Mike B., Sir Charles and DJ Thomas Forever.