This article originally appeared in the Gordie Center's 2017 print publication.
As a parent, Molly Ewald of Charlottesville, Virginia, has witnessed first-hand the pressure students today face. Her son is an 11th grader at Millbrook School in New York, and her daughter, Meme, is a Taft alumna (as are Molly, Gordie's mother, and Gordie's sister) currently in her second year at the University of Virginia. Last year, Meme viewed the Gordie Center film HAZE in one of her classes, and was profoundly impacted by the film. She was so moved by the tragic circumstances of Gordie's death that she chose HAZE as her final paper topic for the class. When Molly received information about the Gordie Center's participation in UVA's GivingToHoosDay (GTHD) campaign this past March, she recalled her conversations with Meme about HAZE and wanted to learn more about the Gordie Center's work. Reading Gordie's story on Gordie.org, Molly realized that what happened to Gordie could so easily happen to her children.
"As a mother, all I want to do is protect my children," she says.
Molly immediately went into action. She contacted Millbrook School about showing HAZE to their students, and upon learning they did not own a copy, she donated HAZE to the school through the Gordie Center's GTHD campaign. She also contacted Taft and was instrumental in the reinstatement of annual HAZE screenings to Taft students every spring.
"I think HAZE is extraordinarily moving, and all high school students should view it. Sadly, the continued hazing deaths demonstrate how relevant the important work of the Gordie Center is, and how crucial it is that more students see HAZE and stand up as a bystander. Gordie's story resonates as much today as ever."
Molly is now volunteering her time with the Gordie Center, reaching out to boarding schools nationwide about HAZE.
"I encourage parents to make sure their children's schools own HAZE and show it to their students. If not, donate to the Gordie Center so a copy of the film will be sent to their school. I know what an impact seeing HAZE has had on my children, and feel through my involvement with the Gordie Center, we can continue to get the message out there and educate students on when to call for help and save a life."