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The Eagle's Cry

The Student News Site of Bethpage High School

The Eagle's Cry

The Student News Site of Bethpage High School

The Eagle's Cry

SoS…More Like “Sources of Strength”?

SoS...More Like Sources of Strength?

“Sources of Strength” is a new student group at BHS. This has been abundantly clear to anyone paying attention.

Now, what exactly is it? These reporters actually don’t know, to be honest. This group seems exclusive…each person gets chosen to be in it, but you can’t just “join” the group.

So, who even chooses members? Apparently, teachers were polled to find out who might be good student leaders. Then, SoS members raise money…for what??? Scholarships? No, t-shirts!* 

*After hearing from Dr. Ricci we have found that this is actually untrue. Dr. Ricci said, “We do not raise money for t-shirts. The shirts were donated by the group’s sponsor. We are planning on making a donation back to the Ryan Patrick O’Shea Foundation as a way to further promote their efforts. By ‘student swag’ I meant materials provided to all students during events.  Most of the money is put into promotional materials and supplies but we also plan to use the money to create ‘Bethpage Sources of Strength’ logo giveaways such as bracelets, pens, and squishy balls, to promote the program further.”

After a series of interviews and conversations, it was clear that the SoS group definitely has good intentions and promotes healthy habits that all students should be a part of. We learned this. Then, why limit who is involved? If the idea to promote healthy habitsa noble one, of coursewhy not be open to all students instead of a select few?

Further, SoS members get pulled out of classes, losing important class time. Then, the teachers have to spend excessive time explaining what the kids missed and making up quizzes and tests. 

Apparently, according to our sources, SoS’s exclusive group members partake in such activities such as meditations and events such as “March Mentor Madness.” We talked to some “peer mentors” and teachers regarding their opinions on this group…or program…  Admittedly, the SoS group runs some great wellness-related activities for their members. Here are quotes from BHS students who chose to respond, mostly anonymously:

“I love participating in fun activities. It’s so fun to be a peer mentor! My favorite activity was meditation.” 

“I think SoS is a great way to promote positive habits.” 

“I am honored to have the ability to radiate kindness to my peers.”

These are some positive reactions, but some others believe the SoS group isn’t all that:

“It definitely needs to be tweaked a bit.”

“I don’t get how they put my twin brother in it when I have just as good grades, I do more extracurriculars then him, and I was just not asked to be a part of this.”

“This group is supposed to promote healthy habits and they have meditation exercises and things like that. But why can nobody else participate in them? These activities aim to make us more mentally healthy, but are available to only the kids who are supposed to be the mentors–so, they’re mentally stable and good examples. Kids who need the help this program is supposed to offer can’t get it.” 

“It’s supposed to be all like student initiative and everything but some teachers start to micro-manage.”

“It’s kind of a shame because it’s clear that there were really good intentions behind it. But, I know there’s a lot of amazing people who could make this club really great but just aren’t given opportunities to because they weren’t voted in it. Also I feel like I have good relationships with my teachers so it kind of hurts that I wasn’t chosen to be in it and that is where I can see some problems coming from.”

“I didn’t know I had to be elected to be in a club.”

“Why can’t I participate in the Instagram trends?”

Following our conversation with Dr. Ricci, we would like to add that Sources of Strength is not technically a club. Dr. Ricci said, “a club is held after school with one or two paid advisors and typically has elected leadership including a president, vice president and so on. Although some of our activities are after school, many are during school. In addition, we meet to plan during the day, have 20 volunteer staff advisors, and no official hierarchy.”

Still others remain optimistic:

“I don’t understand why people would criticize. This club has very noble goals.”

“It’s definitely like a cool group and like when they get things up and running it’s cool. Like the healthy food samples in the cafeteria this week. But it’s just like a super slow start. Like it takes so long to get things started.” 


One could say we are “hating” because we aren’t included in the group. Honestly, that is exactly why we’ve had complaints in the first place. SoS sounds like an amazing group, and we would love to truly understand and be a part of it.

We asked Dr. Ricci, the professional in charge of this group, some of our questions regarding Sources of Strength.

TEC: How do you join?

Dr. Ricci: “As of now, Sources of Strength is a program that any student can be part of, but the students who organize and run the program were selected by their classroom teachers.”

TEC: How does the selection process work?

Dr. Ricci: “Classroom teachers nominated students.  Selections were done by committee based on the number of nominations received, behavior, attendance, and academics.  Teachers were asked to nominate students they thought were leaders within their peer group. We looked to choose students across peer groups.”

TEC: What is your ultimate goal?

Dr. Ricci: “Our ultimate goal is to promote a healthy school culture. Sources are about connecting students across social groups to healthy habits, empowering resources, and, most importantly to each other. We want Bethpage High School to be a place where everyone feels welcome, supported, and nourished academically, socially, and emotionally. We have many great things going on here at the high school and we would like to support those activities and make what is great even better. ”

TEC: What would you say to students who did not get selected? In other words, is there any hope for them to get in in the future?

Dr. Ricci: “Now that many students are becoming aware of the program, we are getting that question often.  The best thing to do is to speak with a teacher you have a good relationship with and express your interest in the program.  If you know a teacher that is an “Adult Advisor”, even better. We will be offering another training next year to replace our graduating seniors and grow the program.  We are looking for students who are willing to be leaders among their peers and help promote health activities and mindset.”

TEC: What do you raise money for?

Dr. Ricci: “All money raised goes right back into the program.  The money from the bake sale was used to buy the wheel we use to give away prizes at events.  We plan on using funds to help buy materials for the program and additional swag for students.  In addition, our training and t-shirts were funded by our benefactor, the Ryan Patrick O’Shea Foundation.  At some point shortly, we will be looking to donate to that program which supports this and other Sources of Strength programs throughout Long Island.”

Following our questions, Dr. Ricci added an additional point to help clarify our initial thoughts;

“We would like all students at Bethpage High School to participate and be part of the program in some way. If you have a friend that is a “Peer Leader” or a teacher who is a “Student Advisor”, speak with them about how you can get involved. For example, one way students can get involved is to help promote, set up and run events. If you would like to be a Peer Leader in the future, speak with one of your teachers.”

Well, some of our questions were answered here, but some remain. One thing seems clear, however: SoS is here to stay.

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About the Contributors
Eva Neamonitis
Eva Neamonitis, Entertainment Editor
Eva Neamonitis is a junior at Bethpage High School. She loves writing about sports, movies, and various events at Bethpage. She enjoys going to Florida and hanging out with friends. This is her second year of writing for The Eagle's Cry.
Julia Baumbach
Julia is a junior at Bethpage High School. This is her first year working on The Eagle’s Cry. She is on varsity cheerleading and dances competitively. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and traveling.  

Comments (8)

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  • L

    L. LaSpinaApr 9, 2024 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you for this article. The first few paragraphs read like a stream of consciousness, but your reporting was fair and I enjoyed the comments and quotes you included.

    My first interaction with this not-a-club was outside the cafeteria, where I voted for my preferred source of strength in some March Mental Health Madness bracket. Apparently it was going on for weeks without most of us noticing. We need more reporting like this so our community can stay informed.

  • O

    Olivia GreenfieldApr 1, 2024 at 11:15 am

    This “club” is supposed to be a suicide prevention group, yet it is invite only, excluding students from being part of a community. As a student and Eagle’s Cry editor I can say just from what I’ve heard from other students, most BHS kid’s feel that this club is more of a joke than an actual attempt at helping student’s mental health. They spend all of their time advertising their “student swag” thinking it will gain the attention and popularity of students rather than actually showing interest in students mental health and well being. They have been sitting outside the cafeteria during lunch periods asking students to vote on which “source of strength” they enjoy the most from an already made list, and not even asking students to submit their own responses and opinions. I just feel that a organization that values student’s mental health and is geared towards suicide prevention should be open to all students instead of making it an invite only situation, which is based on teacher’s biased opinions of students. BHS students are more than what their teachers might see just from the one period they spend with them a day, so why is that the only factor that goes in to who gets to be in this “club”? We have been taught about inclusion in our community since elementary school. “If you see someone sitting alone ask them to sit with you”. “Don’t leave people out”. “Be a buddy, not a bully”. The fact that all of those principals we’ve been taught our entire lives just do not apply to this situation it genuinely upsetting especially since the purpose of this club is to help students mental health and prevent suicide. If Dr. Ricci really cared about student’s mental health and their strengths he would allow for any student to be admitted into Sources of Strength, instead of nit-picking who gets to be included and who doesn’t. He has the power to change that, but chooses to make it invite only. It’s a shame that BHS has come to this that even a teacher is encouraging excluding children from a club.

  • F

    fortnite123!!Mar 14, 2024 at 10:55 am

    Where do we meet???? I’ll be sure to be there!!!

  • E

    EaglesYayMar 14, 2024 at 10:54 am

    When is the next meeting?? I will be there.

  • E

    EaglesLetsYellItMar 14, 2024 at 10:51 am

    Loves it! Can I Join?????????????????

  • J

    JoeMar 14, 2024 at 10:48 am

    Sounds like fun! SOS4L

  • B

    Bethpageeagles1Mar 12, 2024 at 11:13 am

    Sounds like a fun club! How do I join?

    • T

      The Eagle's CryApr 1, 2024 at 11:04 am The Eagle's Cry Pick

      You actually can’t, it is luck of the draw