Students Participate in Health and Wellness Day

Monday, February 17, 2020
Students participate in pet therapy during Health and Wellness Day.

Instead of the usual class schedule February 19, students took time to learn about healthy habits and engage in restorative activities as part of Mercersburg Academy’s annual Health and Wellness Day.

“We are very excited to have a different sort of day and to take time to reflect on all that it means to be well physically, mentally, and spiritually,” says Chris Howes, assistant head of school for student life and culture. 

During the morning, students attended meetings based on their grade level. Seniors participated in a workshop on healthy relationships as it relates to their transition to college, 11th-graders embarked on leadership training, 10th-graders took a mock ACT test, and students in ninth grade participated in a session with guest speaker George Brown on the dangers of vaping, juuling, and using e-cigarettes. 

Brown represents an agency called Freedom from Chemical Dependency, and is on campus throughout the week to work with Mercersburg’s 10th-grade Human Development classes.

During a special two-hour lunch period on Wednesday, staff members from the Academy’s Rutherford Health and Wellness Center hosted a health fair that focused on topics of not only interest but also concern to students in a high-performing academic environment. Nurse Denise Keefer, the designated health fair coordinator, engaged many members in other departments (Student Life, Technology, Dining Services, and Counseling Services) to put together fun, interactive, and informative activities and displays. For instance, the Simon Student Center’s M4 Theatre transformed into a mindful, relaxing, meditative environment to promote learning, positive thinking, and mindfulness.  

A very important topic is the vaping problem among adolescents and the latest research on the effects of vaping, which was covered during the fair as well. There was even an online quiz for students to take related to the health topics presented with several opportunities to win prizes for those who answered the questions correctly.

Rita Barone, health and wellness center director, says, “I want our students to know how much we care about being proactive in promoting healthy life choices for them, and that we can be fun and entertaining in doing so!”

To round out the day, students participated in a rejuvenating afternoon activity of their choice from a list of more than 20 options, ranging from ceramics, knitting, pet therapy, walking, and yoga, to tea time and journaling, swimming for non-swimmers, and much more.