Instead of the usual class schedule on Wednesday, February 13, students took time to learn about healthy habits and engage in restorative activities as part of Mercersburg Academy’s Health and Wellness Day.
“Our goal is to provide our students with an opportunity to learn more about the various issues they confront on a daily basis as it relates to their health and well being,” says Chris Howes, dean of student life.
During the morning, students attended meetings based on their grade. Seniors participated in a workshop on healthy relationships, 11th-graders embarked on leadership training, and students in ninth and 10th grades rotated between a session with guest speaker George Brown on the dangers of vaping, juuling, and using e-cigarettes and a session with the College Counseling Office on developing positive habits.
Brown is a representative from an agency called Freedom from Chemical Dependency who will be on campus throughout the week to work with Mercersburg’s 10th-grade Human Development classes. “George Brown has been to our campus many times and remains committed to teaching about prevention and wellness,” says Susan Rahauser, Mercersburg’s director of student counseling services. “He educates us on recognizing early-warning signs of substance abuse and how to intervene appropriately, and year after year, students enjoy his positive energy and generosity of spirit.”
During lunch on Wednesday, staff members from the Academy’s Health and Wellness Center offered informational booths about the dangers of vaping, juuling, and using e-cigarettes. “The use of these substances is a phenomenon among adolescents right now,” says Rita Barone, director of the Health and Wellness Center.
“Tobacco and cigarette smoking among teens has declined in recent years, in large part because parents and health care providers have taken an active role against the powerful tobacco advertising companies that lure teens into use and ultimately addiction. The Mercersburg Health and Wellness Center, along with our entire school community, is committed to educating our young people on the truth of the dangers of vaping and e-cigarette use.”
To round out the day, students participated in a rejuvenating afternoon activity of their choice from a list of options, ranging from coloring and doodling and playing bocce ball to ceramic classes, meditation workshops, yoga, and more.
“We hope students leave the day with more knowledge about the healthy choices they face and how to make more informed decisions,” says Howes. “More importantly, we want students to leave the day feeling recharged.”
Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 435 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $7 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center. Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. 300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg, PA 17236 GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236 717-328-6173