Liberty’s Red Out receives national recognition


Signe Stroming, Editor-In-Chief

Do you know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack? Go ahead, see if you can name them. Perhaps you thought of chest pain, but struggled to name any of the others. It’s not surprising, since most high school students are more concerned with the topics on the next APUSH test than identifying the symptoms of heart disease.

But maybe our priorities should shift. Heart disease is actually the leading cause of death in the United States, and by 2020 is projected to become the leading cause of death throughout the world.

That’s one reason Liberty ASB partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) from Jan. 12 to 30 to put on Liberty’s third annual “Red Out” campaign to fight heart disease by fundraising and teaching about heart disease.

ASB fundraised $4,015 through online donations, t-shirt sales, and donations at basketball game. This is lower than the previous two years of the campaign. ASB raised $6,971 in 2013 and $8,273 in 2014, always just shy of its $10,000 goal.

“Now, a lot of schools do Red Outs and they don’t even maybe make a thousand or two thousand dollars, so for us to hit our numbers is actually pretty huge,” ASB Activity Coordinator Michelle Munson said.

Huge, indeed. Thanks to ASB, Liberty has ranked number one on the west coast in AHA fundraising for the past two years.

Yet, the influence in the Liberty’s Red Out campaign has spread beyond our community.

As one of the first high schools to partner with AHA, Liberty’s Red Out campaign has become the national template. When AHA representatives meet with leadership programs across the country, they present ideas that Liberty students came up with and put into action, including Heart Week, ASB’s committee system, banners, the Heart Wall, and a speaker at the home basketball game on Jan. 23. Last year, ASB created a PSA on heart disease that has been used in high school trainings across the United States.

Munson described her students’ reactions to the knowledge of their involvement with the larger grassroots effort.

“Everything we did in small town Renton in that portable two years ago has grown to be bigger than Liberty,” Munson said. “Watching their faces as that was explained to them was pretty powerful, because all of a sudden, they’re sitting up straighter and looking at each other like ‘I did that.’”

Munson said that the ASB program will revisit Red Out next year and evaluate whether they want to take on the project for a fourth year.

“Not only do I want the Liberty community to understand that they came together in support of something that could potentially save lives, I want them to understand they are a huge part of a national movement,” Munson said. “Even if we never do [Red Out] again, we’ll be known as one of the first schools that it, and did it successfully. There’s some legacy attached to that, and that’s something kids should be pretty proud of.”