New Prairie students’ awareness video on undetected heart conditions reaches national level

Julie West-Schroeder (left) and the New Prairie videographers. (Photo provided; click to enlarge)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Watch the New Prairie team’s video by clicking on this WSBT-TV link:

Never underestimate the power of young people, especially when they’re motivated by a very worthy cause.

Five New Prairie High School students — Megan Boyd, Addie Woodham, Allie Palmer, Sydney Moody and Callie Metzger —  teamed up to create a public service announcement (PSA) video for the Play for Jake Foundation, the LaPorte County

Jake West

organization dedicated to raising funds for, and awareness of, sudden cardiac deaths that claim the lives of youths.

Their video was recently awarded second place in the state competition for PSAs. Now the New Prairie bunch is headed to the nationals at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando from June 21-24. They’re all members of an NPHS academic club that unites youths interested in the healthcare field who compete in teamwork and leadership events.

Play for Jake (www.playforjake,org) is named for Slicer Jake West, who died of cardiac

Mark Mayfield

arrest during a football practice at LaPorte’s Kiwanis Field in 2013. The New Prairie group is also honoring New Prairie student Mark Mayfield, who died of cardiac arrest in early 2017 after an intramural basketball game.

Megan Boyd told WNLP: “My group and I competed in a teamwork event that required us to make a public service announcement. This year the topic is ‘My Preparedness Story: Staying Healthy and Resilient,’ and the questions that had to be answered in our 30-second PSA are ‘What actions are you taking to make your community healthy and resilient BEFORE or AFTER a disaster?’ and ‘How do these actions help you and your community withstand, manage, and recover from disasters?’

“As a group we created a video encompassing the sudden passing of LaPorte County students Jake West and Mark Mayfield, both from undetected heart conditions,” Megan said. “The video promotes that a community is strongest when it is united as a whole, despite the rivalry that New Prairie and LaPorte share — and as a result, promote heart screenings together.”

The New Prairie team is the only one in the national competition (with more than 100 contestants) that concentrates on undetected heart conditions.

“Our ultimate hope with this video is not so much to win in our competition, but to reach as many people as possible,” Megan said. “Everyone has a heart; heart conditions can affect anyone. With all of the social medias this has become a lot easier, but we have to find people willing to put our video out there.”

Julie West-Schroeder, Jake’s mom, said: “I’m so grateful for these young ladies and Mrs. Aerts from New Prairie High School. I can’t tell you how much this means to me and my family knowing that these girls are raising such an important and lifesaving message to the world. Their enthusiasm and passion is amazing. I can only hope this catches the attention of many and things start to change so we stop losing our children to undetected heart conditions.

“Jake will turn 21 in July. When things change there will be so many families out there who will be able to celebrate their children’s birthdays here on earth. That’s the way it should and needs to be. Let’s be the change, and these girls have the voice and passion to make it happen. They give me the lift I need to keep on going.”

To learn more about the Play for Jake Foundation and its events and to contribute toward free heart screenings for youths, call 219-608-1849 and visit

One Response to “New Prairie students’ awareness video on undetected heart conditions reaches national level”

  1. Wayne Cory

    Jun 18. 2017

    Our grandson Dylan Cory died from an undetected heart condition on 12/29/15.He was only 21,also a New Prairie graduate. . I hope this new initiative will detect these conditions before tragedies happen.

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