(CROWLEY STAR/KYP SHILLAM)
It's an issue that hit home with Cheyenne Chadwick last summer.

 

"I was completely unaware of the issue that domestic violence is within our society. I was blessed to grow up in a very loving family, but I found out that members of my extended family had been part of domestic violence situations and I didn't even know it," said the Crowley High School junior, whose own family was touched by the issue last year.

 

A law enforcement student at the Bill R. Johnson Career and Technology Education Center, Chadwick said a lecture on domestic violence in her Law II class moved her to action.

 

"My teacher, Mr. Rincon, was talking about domestic violence situations including sexual assault, child abuse and neglect. He said it was the No. 1 call police dispatchers receive. It opened my eyes," Chadwick said.

 

Hitting the books, Chadwick said she was compelled to study the issue. Gathering facts, figures and examples, Chadwick was further motivated to action after her stepmother took her to a domestic violence seminar at Tarrant County College. The seminar gave her direction for her future.

 

"I want to major in victim's studies at Sam Houston State," she said. "I could be a counselor, work with the police department or in the schools. Overall, I just want to help."

 

But getting people to open their eyes and ears to domestic violence, and move them to action is not easy, said Chadwick, who was named Law Enforcement Student of the Year.

 

"It's real. It's happening and many people are unaware so they try to shield their children from it. But by doing that, we enable our kids to be oblivious, which is dangerous for them and their friends who may need help," she said. "Kids who witness domestic violence have a harder time learning and making friends, and that's just the start of the problem."

 

Chadwick took action this spring when the class was challenged to do a project on domestic violence through the eyes of a child.

 

"I wanted to do a [video] PSA so I talked to the teachers in the audio/visual department and they loaned me some of their best students to run the cameras and do the editing. I rounded up actors and talked to some of the other teachers and they all wanted to help," she said

 

Enlisting her classmates, Chadwick became the producer, wielding the concept and keeping the motivation level high. The other law enforcement students helped write scripts, gave ideas for dramatic sequences and helped Chadwick bring the project together.

 

"April was domestic violence awareness month and I hoped to have it done by then, but there was a lot of testing going on so we just got the video shot," she said. Once testing was over, the project was picked back up.

 

"It was a time crunch as the end of school was coming, but we got it done," Chadwick said, proud of the efforts of her classmates Brayon Wilson, Jaylon Simpson, Aracelli Munoz, Joshua Thomas, Jacob Goodson and Elijah Reynolds. "My teachers Mr. [Markeith] West and Mr. [Daniel] Rincon are the best. They've taught me so much and inspired me. This place, the CTE center itself, empowers you. Everyone here is supportive and the law enforcement program has been an amazing experience."

 

Rincon said students like Chadwick, who find their passion and act on it, make teaching a joy.

 

"She's so positive and such an advocate. The PSA is very moving. The people [in the PSA] with their eyes covered don't want to see the abuse. Those with their ears covered don't want to hear about it, and the people with their mouths covered don't want to talk about it, but that's what we need to do. We need to confront the issue," Rincon said, noting Chadwick and her crew have done just that.

 

"I just want to prevent domestic violence and child abuse from happening," she said of the video. "If people know what to look for, they can get involved and bring it to a stop."

The PSA that Chadwick produced can be viewed on the CTE center website and is also posted on the Crowley Star website, www.crowleystar.net.