Courtesy photo: Riverhead Central School District

Valentine’s Day in classrooms usually means cupcakes with pink frosting, candy, and cards from classmates. Today, students throughout Riverhead celebrated the holiday, but also recognized “P.S. I Love You Day” — a day that promotes mental health and anti-bullying. 

The “P.S. I Love You Day” was started 10 years ago after Brooke DiPalma lost her father and a fellow West Islip Senior High School student to suicide. 

“Tragedy should not be the force for togetherness; Togetherness should be the force that ends tragedies,” says the P.S. I Love You website

The day is held every second Friday of February, and this year it happened to fall on Valentine’s Day. In honor of the day, students across Long Island wear purple and spread positive messages in the hope of stopping bullying and preventing suicide. 

To recognize the day, Nicole Fallon-Herbst and Kelly Dillon, teachers at Roanoke Avenue Elementary School, made a video to spread positive messages. 

Jim Richardson’s fourth grade class at Roanoke Avenue Elementary School.
Photo: Julia-Anna Searson

“They knew about the event, and they wanted to take it one step further,” said fourth grade teacher James Richardson. 

Richardson’s students gathered in a circle to watch the “world-premiere.” In the video, students, teachers and faculty held up signs of positive messages such as “You are loved,” “You matter,” and “The world is brighter with you in it.” 

Later in the day, students at Roanoke Avenue and Aquebogue Elementary School watched the video and colored in hearts and wrote positive character traits inside of the heart. 

Even the older students of Riverhead made sure to participate in the event. 

Riverhead High School students passed out anti-bullying bracelets and wrote kind words on Post-it notes and placed them throughout the school. 

The middle school students also wrote positive messages on sticky notes, and placed them on students lockers. 

Courtesy photo: Riverhead Central School District
Photo: Julia-Anna Searson
Riverhead Schools Superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez Maya, a Roanoke Avenue fourth-grader. Photo: Julia-Anna Searson

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Julia-Anna is a Riverhead native and a recent graduate of Stony Brook University, with a degree in Biology and minor in Anthropology. She currently lives in Cutchogue.