Jack Flanigan ’23 addressed fellow high school students at St. John’s Jesuit in Toledo, Ohio, on March 23, giving a presentation on mental health and the ways in which students can work with administration to promote concrete change in their school. Flanigan was the closing speaker at St. John’s Jesuit’s Summit for Justice, an annual weeklong event educating students on social-justice issues.
Flanigan first became interested in mental health’s direct intersection with school administration during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As students returned to their classrooms with a hint of normalcy last year, Flanigan and other Regis classmates founded the Student Well-being Committee. This group opened a direct channel between students and the administration, allowing Regians to voice their concerns and collaborate on ways to address them.
Last October, a delegation of Regis students traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In For Justice. Flanigan gave a presentation to a crowd of more than 150 people about student-led change at schools and how students can support each other with mental-health struggles. The presentation also touched on access to healthcare and how mental health is a social-justice issue.
A representative from St. John’s Jesuit was in attendance, and Flanigan was invited to address the Toledo school over Zoom on the topic. That talk was well-received, and he was invited to fly out to address the school again in March, this time in person during the Summit for Justice. In addition to his talk to close the St. John’s Jesuit event, Flanigan also led a large discussion group to share his own experiences and listen to those of the St. John’s Jesuit students.