Copperas Cove High School student Hayleigh Walker knows a thing or two about teenage suicide.

But this military teenager — who once tried to take her own life — is taking action to keep teens from making the same mistake she did.

The Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Pageant has partnered with Copperas Cove High School to bring awareness to teen suicide prevention with a walk from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

The Teen Suicide Awareness and Prevention Candlelight Walk will be at South Park, 2602 Dennis St.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “teen suicide is a serious and growing health concern; the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15-24 and the sixth leading cause for death among 5-14-year-olds.”

“In the past, I struggled with suicidal thoughts and actions,” Walker said. “The experience I went through left me wanting no teenager to ever feel worthless or even consider taking his or her own life, because I know now that inside everyone, including me, is someone strong and full of potential, to be valued and appreciated.”

Walker is the reigning Young Miss Five Hills and her platform of service is teen suicide awareness and prevention. She captured the crown in the largest community pageant in Texas in May after sharing her personal story before a live audience and panel of judges in an on-stage interview, vowing to spend her yearlong reign speaking out against teen suicide.

Former Copperas Cove student Taylor Harris said “Suicide is a heavy emotion hovering over the heads of many teenagers. Life is hard, so many decisions to make, add that to the reality of bullying taking on a whole new life through cyberattacks, image issues, parental issues and the world becomes too large to manage.”

The walk is designed to open dialogue and get people talking about what can be done to prevent suicide. Counselors will be available to talk with those who require information or guidance.

A butterfly tree will be available for those who know someone who died by suicide and participants will walk in the name of their loved ones.

There is no cost to register.

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