Written by Olivia Stock
The dull buzz of students and parents talking mixes with laughter and footsteps. Poster boards filled with information and color line the hallway and the perimeter of the LGI. Eighth graders and parents mill about, looking at seventh grader’s projects and watching them present. The Teen Health Fair took place on February 15 in Core Plus.
For this project, students tried to find an answer to the driving question: How can we influence our well-being and take responsibility for our health? They researched the answer, and took into account the three types of health, physical, mental, and emotional. Some groups focused on one, other groups on two, and still others on all three.
Mrs. Rachel Harter, along with the other seventh grade honors language arts teachers, are the ones directing the whole project. Harter said that students have more freedoms with projects like these, as they can choose what direction they want to go with their answer and really put their own thoughts and opinions into their presentation.
She said that students will also learn from each other as they research and present their findings. Harter has been doing this project for three years, and said that it improves a little bit every time. She also talked about how students’ age (teenagers) will help them with the project. She said her students are people that “teens that are younger have an opportunity to look up to.”
The language arts teachers collaborated with the health teachers for the project, and plan to do it more in future Health Fairs. Some of the projects may even be passed on to health experts for use in their jobs.
The students chose groups of three or four students to work on and present the project with. The overall topic was improving teen health, however, there are many directions that students could take their answer.
For example, Arthur Yeh, seventh grade, along with his group members, did a project focused on mental and emotional health. “Our project is focused on getting people to come forward and talk about their problems on their own accord,” he said.
Their presentation, called Talk About It, encouraged people to talk to someone they trust about personal issues.
Theresa Hommel, seventh grade, and her group focused on “Balancing the three types of health” as a response to the driving question.
Her group’s presentation was called T.H.E. B.O.A.T.-Teen Health Education Balance Of All Things. The presentation included a test for their audience to take on how balanced their lifestyle is. “As teens we can influence our health and well-being by understanding the importance of a balanced lifestyle and using it in our everyday lives,” she said.
Yeh and Hommel talked about how, if at all, their projects could help other teenagers. Yeh said that as long as his group did the project right, teens will be able to find the causes of their problems and get help to solve them. Hommel said that it all depended on whether their audience took their presentation seriously.
Students were able to draw on their own experiences to help with their project. “Personal stories are a great source of inspiration,” Yeh said. Hommel has experience with balancing nutrition, allowing her to add her personal knowledge to the project.
The Teen Health Fair reached a large audience of parents as well as students, educating people on widespread problems of teenagers.
All stories, photos and video footage by the seventh and eighth grade newspaper students.