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Mental Health Highlighted During Wellness Week at Kennedy

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Students and staff at Kennedy High School focused on promoting healthy mental and physical habits during Wellness Week.

On March 11, the nonprofit organization Therapy Dogs of Long Island visited with a black Lab named Porter.

The volunteers visit to schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters, the emotionally, mentally, and physically challenged to “help build their confidence, learn compassion, improve their socialization skills and feel the unconditional love dogs have to give.”

Library Media Specialist Kristen Mogavero helped organize the visit.

“I've found brings so much joy and peace during previous wellness weeks,” she noted. “Having just a few minutes to meet with a dog during the day really helps students and staff to "reset" and be present in the moment. Research shows that therapy dog visits can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety for student populations.”

Mandala coloring, themed dress up days, a focus on music and movies were all part of Wellness Week. Leadership students volunteered to assist with student activities.

Leadership I students proposed themes to administration for the week. The formal presentation included themes and related activities.
Leadership II students visited Freshman Seminar classes this week to talk about the power of being #2, a lesson in supportive leadership.

“The students spoke to the power in supporting others, working to benefit the team or club, and the psychological benefits of putting other before yourself,” explained social studies and leadership teacher Brad Seidman.

Students wore pins all week that said “I am #2.”

“When someone asks who is number one, they replied with, ‘you are,’” Seidman added.

On four separate days, each grade-level attended an assembly that focused on either anxiety, substance abuse, social media use or the pillars of mental performance.

Leah Jantzen, a guidance counselor in the Three Village School District, also serves as the district’s mental health and performance coach for Ward Melville High School student-athletes. She addressed sophomores on March 15.

Jantzen relayed messages of “empowering teens to triumph over obstacles, shatter any limiting beliefs, catalyze their action and be able to achieve remarkable results.”

Building resiliency and grit in teens, igniting ambition, and cultivating mental fitness were among her key points.

Principal Gerard Owenburg encouraged all of families “to take some time out next week to focus on wellness” in his weekly email about school happenings. “As adults, we can get busy with work and responsibilities and it’s important for us to all be good role models for self-care for our students,” he noted.

Click here to view the photo slideshow.

Date Added: 3/15/2024

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