Helping students make healthy choices and be resilient continues to be a priority at Saint Francis High School. In March, the school shone a spotlight on the different ways students can manage their stress during a weeklong event called “Relieve the Stress.”
Organized by the student-led health advisory board, the activities of “Relieve the Stress,” which has grown to be an annual experience, were varied. There were tai chi, meditation and yoga sessions, as well as Zumba and Bollywood-cardio workouts and a jump rope competition. Students could make their own stress balls, and teachers and guest speakers tackled topics such as nutrition and acceptance during lunchtime presentations.
Junior Mehak Chadha, president of the health advisory board, was excited to see how huge the turnout was at many events. She hoped that her through the week’s activities, her peers would find ways to manage their stress in a positive way.
“Find an activity that you enjoy and use that as an outlet,” she said.
While stress is inescapable, Mehak wanted her classmates to know that it does not have to overtake their lives and noted that there are several ways in which they can find emotional or spiritual support on campus.
“Many students are close to their counselor, or they can visit the chapel,” she said. “There are many resources for students to use.”
The “Relieve the Stress” week is part of a comprehensive school initiative on wellness, a topic that students are very much interested in. Through surveys, they have indicated that they want to know more about managing stress and finding a healthy balance in their lives.
For the past several years, Saint Francis has embarked on a four-year interdisciplinary program with a different emphasis each year, beginning with exploring physical wellness during freshman year and ending with maintaining a healthy lifestyle during senior year. Guidance counselors and educators in all departments teach curriculum that addresses different dimensions of wellness – spiritual, intellectual and social – categories that mirror the three legs of the school mission.
“When we began this initiative, we enhanced what we were already doing so that more topics are addressed in class and all aspects of wellness are covered,” said Margaret Miller, dean of students. “This is an ongoing effort. We are always striving to find new ways to support students through curriculum and activities. Through the wellness program, we promote awareness and education to support a healthy and safe environment for the entire school community.”