By Samantha Ryan
Middle and Upper School Health
Leadership Endorsement Chair
On Thursday, February 28, the Upper School faculty held our first Health and Wellness Event, an afternoon of activities for the Upper School students to promote wellness of the mind, body, and spirit. Faculty was mindful of students' concerns about keeping up with their academics, so a special schedule was created for the day. This allowed the students to attend all of their classes in the morning then fully immerse themselves in the afternoon's activities. Workshops were planned and facilitated by both outside guests and faculty. Workshops included: Margaret Wilder (retired lower school teacher) with yoga classes, Mrs. Alicia Hurford (Mr. Hurford's wife) addressed mindfulness, and Katherine McCabe (Ms. Fazzina's daughter) taught the girls how to make healthy snacks. Our very own health and wellness advocates included: Ms. Angelina Howard for stress management, Mrs. Denise Driscoll with ballet class, Mrs. Katherine Gibson & Mrs. Megan Cianfrone collaborated with "Old School PE Class", Mrs. Samantha Ryan held a physioball fitness class, Ms. Christina Koysla taught the students about essential oils, Ms. Jillian Wolf had the girls color their way to calmness, and Mrs. Krista O'Connor facilitated a floral-therapy class.
The faculty who planned the event were purposeful to ensure that students were introduced to various facets of wellness. It was wonderful to see our students light and carefree. On her "Old School PE" workshop, Lower and Middle School PE/Health Teacher Katherine Gibson said that "getting the girls engaged and having fun can lead to a passion for lifelong fitness- well beyond their Upper School days! Today was a chance to relive those days of PE, while having fun, and getting in a good workout." Lower School Drama and Theology Teacher Christina Kosyla also added that "if we are not teaching and practicing the skills of self-care and wellbeing, we are setting up our students for burnout. The student feedback was overwhelmingly positive - some even wishing that once a month, an event like this could allow them to focus on their health."
When asked to share her thoughts on the day, Health & Wellness Committee Co-Chair Aditi '20 said this: "The Health and Wellness workshops were an amazing way to spend the afternoon, and I think they really benefited the entire Upper School. This can be a stressful and anxious time of year for students, and this afternoon was an effective and fun way to remind us all that we should prioritize ourselves and our own mental and physical healthy over anything else. My personal favorite workshop was "Old School PE" because it reminded me of my days at Stuart as a Lower Schooler!"
After such a successful and healthy afternoon, there are plans to make this a more frequent event. One of our goals in the Upper School is to teach our students that creating a strong foundation in health and wellness is paramount to becoming a confident leader, and overall life success. This afternoon of health and wellness gave our students new ways to fill their batteries and keep themselves charged. Click here for photos.