Students at Byram Hills High School want to make wellness a priority for everyone in the school community.
The Student Wellness Advisory Committee, known as SWAC, created Wellness Wednesdays, new weekly meetings that take place during office hours and focus on a wellness theme that changes monthly.
Chloe Siegle, a senior and a SWAC co-president, said the Wednesday mornings help students start the day off stress-free.
“It’s a great way to get the whole school focused on wellness and to show the importance of taking a break,” she said. “A lot of times high school students just brush past the idea of thinking about doing something for themselves and are just focused on getting through the school day.”
“I think Wellness Wednesdays are going to be helpful for students to let themselves have a break,” Chloe added. “Especially at Byram Hills, it’s a very high-stress environment. When we take time to let ourselves do something for fun and reflect and give ourselves time to breathe, it makes the school day easier and lets us realize what’s important in life.”
The Wednesday gatherings are open to all students, as well as faculty and staff members.
“If we want to really prioritize student wellness, then it can’t be just one day or one week of the year,” Principal Christopher Walsh said. “We really have to do a better job of embedding wellness within our culture. Wellness Wednesdays will help us achieve that goal.”
The themes for Wellness Wednesdays this year are gratitude in November, followed by sleep, nutrition, relationships, exercise, stress, meditation and a reset in June.
“This time and space is dedicated to giving students and faculty the opportunity to set their morning intentions for the day,” said physical education teacher Kathleen Healy, SWAC’s faculty adviser. “By creating a comfortable and peaceful environment, students can settle in and give themselves time to plan, organize and begin their day clear-headed, fresh and focused.”
The idea is to introduce students to various wellness techniques.
“It’s to expose them to different practices and small changes they can embrace to build long-lasting wellness habits,” Mrs. Healy said. “Everybody can pick the pieces that work for them.”
The kickoff to Wellness Wednesdays was the high school’s annual Wellness Week, which ran from Nov. 15-19. The week featured daily activities: a taste test of energy bites, hip hop yoga, journal writing, viewing a motivational video clip and discussion, and student-led meditation.
Mr. Walsh, who attended the yoga session, is grateful for the weekly events. “We hope all students take advantage of the time to focus on their wellness,” he said.