With health being on many people’s minds during a pandemic, students at Sacred Heart High School learned about wellness at the school’s health fair Friday.
In its 16th year, the fair teaches students about their wellness as a whole, including body and mind.
Shelly Gaskill, the wellness coordinator for Sacred Heart, said she has a passion to help people stay healthy and the fair helps students learn early on skills that will help them as they grow older.
“It started with a $250 grant,” Gaskill said.
It has grown since that first year, with parents and community organizations donating time and resources to help with the fair.
“A parent provided the food,” Gaskill said. “(Places like) Sharp Performance, who’s teaching yoga, they all want to help with our school.”
The yoga was a favorite for many students, including freshman Lauryn Mikkelson, but she said it was good to learn about wellness as a whole.
“I think it’s helpful for future high school experiences,” Mikkelson said.
Mikkelson said it will also be helpful after she graduates, and she hopes to keep up the skills she learns today into the future.
A whole body approach
The health fair looked at wellness as a whole. In addition to the yoga, there were sessions on eating healthy, CPR and AED basics, relationships and the mind and brain.
Tiffany Wells, a registered dietician in Salina, gave students ideas on quick, easy and healthy breakfast options. She said she knew most of the students don’t do the food shopping for themselves, but encouraged them to find ways to still eat better.
“You probably don’t go to the grocery store with your parents,” Wells said. “But, if you told them, you wanted to try something…they might get it for you.”
Another session looked at what addiction does to the brain. Rachel Bieker, wellness and prevention coordinator for CKF Addiction Treatment, showed images of brain development and what certain drugs do to that development and the damage that can be caused.
“These things can be rebuilt if caught soon enough,” Bieker said.
She talked about how the brain deals with stress and how habits and addictions affect that early in life.
“If you start using substances to deal with stress, that is how your brain is going to be wired,” Bieker said. “As your brain develops, wiring is going on as well.”
Bieker also talked to the students about how addiction is a health issue to treat and how to combat the stigma surrounding it.
“This is something that we’re dealing with and fighting within this field,” Bieker said. “This is substance use disorder, it isn’t a moral failing.”
In all, there were five, 15-minute sessions the students went through with each student finishing up before lunch that day.