As Mental Health Week wraps up on Sunday, May 7, Grade 9-12 students and staff at Nicholson Catholic College (NCC) in Belleville participated in a Health and Wellness Day at the school on Friday, May 5, 2023, for the second time since 2019.
The organizing team, Jeff Wood, teacher and student services department head, and retired NCC teacher Mary Jo Cassidy who came back to help organize the event, put together a total of 18 activities that took place throughout the day ranging from meditation to puzzles and games, from virtual reality to dancing and open gym.
"Having successfully organized Health and Wellness Day in the past, Mary Jo and I recognized the importance of continuing to prioritize the well-being of our students. We were committed to providing a program that was both meaningful and accessible to all students, regardless of their backgrounds or needs," said Mr. Wood. “Through careful planning and consideration, we were able to curate a second iteration of the program that built upon the success of the first and continued to foster a supportive and inclusive school community."
In advance of the day, students and staff signed up for four activities that replaced the four class periods, and with a barbecue lunch in between.
Grade 9 student, Levontae Bell, who participated in Tai Chi said that despite being unsure about the activity prior to starting it, he had so much fun.
“The instructor was so funny, and he made us all laugh. I didn't know I would enjoy Tai Chi so much. I didn't even know what it was until I did it!" said Bell.
Health and Wellness Day at the school first made its first appearance at NCC in May of 2019, after the school received a SpeakUp student grant by the provincial government. The SpeakUp grant helps to “Empower and Strengthen the Student Voice," according to the provincial website referenced here.
This year, Mr. Wood and Ms. Cassidy applied for some additional funding from the community to help support the day.
“As an educator, it fills my heart with joy to see our students actively participating in the activities, disconnected from their devices and fully present in the moment. Witnessing their genuine smiles and contagious laughter reverberating throughout the rooms is a testament to the power of human connection and the positive impact it can have on our well-being," said Ms. Cassidy. “It is truly a privilege to facilitate an environment that fosters such authentic engagement and genuine happiness."
On Monday, May 8, NCC Grade 7 and 8 students will have the opportunity to listen to special guest speaker, Nick Foley, former NCC student, about health and wellness.