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Danbury High Students Inspired To 'Say Something' To Save Others

Natalia Szurawski, a senior at Danbury High School, is the driving force behind the 'Say Something' campaign this week. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
Mark Barden, father of a victim of the Sandy Hook shooting, embraces the student leaders at Danbury High School. From left, the students are Yago Zoccarato, Isabel Gustems, Lizzy Newbold and Natalia Szurawski. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
Mark Barden checks out the 'Say Something' campaign at Danbury High School. The students posed for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter photos with the signs. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks to the sophomores at Danbury High School about the importance of the 'Say Something' campaign. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa

DANBURY, Conn. — Natalia Szurawski, a senior at Danbury High School, was moved to say something when a friend threatened to kill herself. 

Because Natalia spoke up, the girl got the help she needed. 

Natalia, inspired to do more, went to work for her project for her Peer Leadership course. She brought the "Say Something" campaign to Danbury High to urge her classmates to speak up if peers are about to harm themselves or others. 

“Looking for signals and threats, telling a trusted adult, and acting immediately" are the hallmarks of the campaign, she said. "Say Something" was started by the Sandy Hook Promise, a charity started by parents of the shooting victims to promote school safety.

Statistics show that in 80 percent of school shootings, the shooter told someone about their plans.

In just a few weeks, Natalia organized a weeklong series of activities to promote the notion of "Say Something," culminating in a sophomore class assembly Thursday afternoon with Gov. Dannel Malloy, Mayor Mark Boughton and Superintendent Sal Pascarella as well as Mark Barden, who lost his son in the Sandy Hook shooting.

"We all joined together to start this initiative because we want gun violence stopped," said Natalia, who is working with fellow seniors Yago Zoccarato, Isabel Gustems and Lizzy Newbold to bring the message to the state's largest high school. "We all have our own personal connections to this cause."

Isabel connected with the message as a former Newtown student. "My friends told me that their siblings were terrified to go to school. I wanted to do something impactful and powerful to change that."

Yago agreed. ""I can make a difference," he said.

Lizzy is working with Isabel to bring a companion program to the school called "Start With Hello" to end social isolation. 

"Start With Hello and Say Something go hand-in-hand to make a difference," she said. 

The speakers urged the Danbury students to be alert and speak up if they see something wrong. 

“I know we all think, ‘Do I really want to put somebody else at risk by sharing my fear?’ The answer has got to be yes,” Malloy said. “We are going to let someone else know what is going on when we have a fear in the pit of our stomach that someone we know is going to do something very dangerous to themselves or others.” 

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