Rye’s Youth Seek Understanding and Support at Speak Out Event

The effort, contributing to RyeAct’s ongoing mission of substance abuse prevention, surveyed hundreds of students in Rye.

Got Rhythm: Rye High School’s acapella group, Rhythm on Rye, performed at the Speak Out. Photo Alison Relyea
Published June 7, 2024 2:10 PM
2 min read


“Times have changed since our parents were in high school,” an anonymous Rye High School student shared at RyeAct’s Speak Out event on May 28 at Rye Rec. “Everything is different for us than it was for them.”

Middle and high school students were asked by RyeAct, an anti-drug and alcohol organization, to share their perspective on what adults should understand about Rye’s youth today.

The effort, contributing to RyeAct’s ongoing mission of substance abuse prevention, surveyed hundreds of students in Rye. Answers ranged from those of positivity (“I think life for youth in Rye is amazing”) to those more poignant (“We are trying our best”).

After collecting the information, RyeAct posted typed-up quotes on the wall of the Damiano Center at Rye Rec for onlookers to read at the Speak Out event. “Students don’t feel they will be ‘worthy’ or loveable, if they don’t do well in every class,” one student said. “Everyone is expected to conform, and if they don’t, they can be left out,” said another.

Students, faculty, and parents attended the event, which drew about 30 people. Various high school clubs shared their objectives, extending student voices beyond the high school to the Rye community.

“It’s important for adults to know the challenges kids face so that they can better understand what they are going through and how they feel,” Eugenie Gericke, a rising senior and member of RyeAct, said after the event. “I think it is important [for parents] to offer them the support that they need.”

By surveying students, “RyeACT can do the prevention work we do by fostering communication and setting goals to create impact,” said the club’s Executive Director, Nancy Pasquale. “This event showcased the many ways that students play roles in shaping their environment, both in the schools and in the community at large. These range from leadership roles within the schools to peer support clubs or being part of a music group.”

RyeAct’s Speak Out event included performances by Rhythm on Rye, Rye High School’s acapella team, and Dark Matter, a rock band of preteens who performed covers of “Karma Police,” “Seven Nation Army,” and others, The performances were met with cheers from the group. With fellow Rye High students, parents, and kids of all ages in the audience, Dark Matter earned a standing ovation.

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