NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Virginia Beach teen surprised for advocacy work on last day of school

Brie Gesick.png
Brie Gesick.png
Seizure Safe Schools.png
Posted at 4:47 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 16:53:53-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - From the classroom to the General Assembly, two local teens have made quite the mark on Virginia's history.

"We don't have a lot of kids in sixth, seventh and eighth grade that come up with an idea and a concept and get a bill passed. It just doesn't happen that much," said Sen. Bill DeSteph.

On Friday, Brie Gesick was recognized for the work she's done alongside local legislators and York High schooler Jamie Van Cleave.

The two teens, who live with epilepsy, helped turn the Seizure Safe Schools bill into law.

"Brie, you have just set the standard very, very high. You are a remarkable young lady, and we wanted to make sure that we recognize the hard work that you put into this," said Kathy Keough, the student activities coordinator at Corporate Landing Middle School.

In Virginia, all school personnel are now required to get seizure first aid training.

Administrators decided the best place to celebrate Brie's accomplishment was in the classroom on the last day of school with a pump-up video from her favorite teachers.

"I was surprised! I was like, 'What's going on?'" she said. "It means a lot to me because that's how I know I have done my part to help kids with epilepsy."

Keough said, "This is just the beginning. So, your journal that I put together for you says 'Brie Strong.' Your story continues because we know that there is a lot more to come."

To everyone who helped her get to this point, Brie said, "Thank you so much for everything that you've done for me. You guys were a big part in helping me get this law passed."

Sen. DeSteph said the training will be rolled out in 2022 and the Epilepsy Foundation will provide the videos and other materials to the school districts for free.

"I want them to be able to see this and say, 'Hey, I've got to make our schools safer. I've got an idea to make life better for other students - here's what we can do,'" said Sen. DeSteph.