WRENTHAM — Superintendent Paul Zinni and Director of Wellness Dot Pearl are pleased to announce that a King Philip Regional High School senior recently received the Haley Cremer “Do Unto Others” Award for Peer Leadership.
KP Senior Matthew Kelley received the Haley Cremer “Do Unto Others” Award for Peer Leadership on Tuesday, Nov. 22, from Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrisey at Gillette Stadium.
The award, which is given to a Norfolk County high school student who has had a profound impact on the lives of others, is dedicated to Haley Cremer (May 4, 1994 – June 15, 2014). Cremer was recognized in 2011 as a recipient of the Norfolk District Attorney’s Peer Leadership Award prior to the award being named in her honor as she’s remembered for her compassionate commitment to helping others.
Kelley was nominated for the award by Director Pearl and Principal Dr. Lisa Mobley for his work both behind the scenes and outwardly to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. In the King Philip community, Kelley has emerged as a leader supporting and engaging his peers regarding mental health.
Kelley, alongside his older sister Madison, began to advocate for suicide prevention numbers to be placed on the back of student identification badges in 2019. They felt strongly that putting crisis resources in the hands of all students would help prevent suicide after an extended family member of theirs died by suicide.
Together, their advocacy resulted in suicide prevention numbers being placed on student ID cards in the Fall of 2021 at both the high school and middle school.
Feeling that all students should know that these numbers will ensure that they are not alone and that there is always someone to reach out to, Kelley also requested that the words “You are not alone” be added above the numbers.
This year with the addition of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, Kelley also ensured that the student ID card template could be edited and that these additions to the ID cards would be a continued practice at King Philip. Kelley is also hoping to campaign for other high schools in the area to follow suit and add suicide prevention resources to its student ID cards.
Kelley also assisted the district in establishing an Active Minds Chapter at King Philip after meeting Jim Johnson of the Kyle Johnson Foundation and learning about the national Active Minds organization. Since then, Kelley has promoted the Active Minds Chapter among his peers to help raise awareness and reduce stigma.
Last spring, Kelley applied to the national organization for KP Active Minds to host Send Silence Packing at King Philip. This traveling program was important to Kelley, as it is directly related to preventing suicide, reducing stigma and increasing help-seeking through stories and resources. King Philip Regional was selected as the only high school in Massachusetts to host this event this fall. As North Attleborough High School’s Active Minds group had hoped to host as well, the district partnered with them under Kelley’s leadership to expand the impact on the students of both schools.
“Matt is a quiet leader, but effective in encouraging his peers to take part and continuing the work to change the conversation about mental health and suicide awareness at King Philip,” said Director Pearl. “King Philip is proud to see Matt’s commitment and leadership to impact individual students and the school.”
Added Superintendent Zinni, “Matt is an extremely strong student who has tirelessly advocated to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention within the King Philip community. We are extremely pleased to see Matt be recognized for his work by the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office and DA Morrissey, as it’s extremely well-deserved. I ask that everyone join me in personally congratulating Matt on this recognition.”