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March 3, 2016

Wellness day brings local resources to students

grotonBob Ellis/staff photographer
Groton Middle School eighth-grader Deidre Brame goes for the apple chips for a healthy snack at the Groton Wellness Day Fair at the high school Wednesday.

By LEANN HLEBICA
Staff Reporter
lhlebica@cortlandstandardnews.net

GROTON — Students at Groton High School spent the morning Wednesday learning all about steps to take, to lead a healthy lifestyle during the schools’ annual Wellness Day.
Wellness Day teaches students how healthy exercise and eating habits can lead them to health, but it also introduces them to local and statewide resources available to them to maintain that healthy lifestyle.
Eighth-grader Deidre Brame said she already has healthy eating habits. But said she was happy with being able to try healthy snacks provided by Kelley Neville, the school’s director of food service.
Neville joined the school district in December after working at SUNY Cortland for 10 years. She said that Wellness Day is a great way to teach kids about making healthy eating choices.
Working at the college, Neville said she saw many students try to cram meals into small break windows, limiting options because of time. Her her focus is to teach students about healthy and quick choices.
One of the most popular snacks she made were apple crisps, baked apples with cinnamon.
Brame said the apple crisps were her favorite, the carrots and hummus — not so much.
“The hardest thing for me working here is going to be having the kids try the food, that’s my biggest challenge,” Neville said.
State Trooper Peter Eliot of the state police was also there, educating students on how drugs and alcohol impair vision by using goggles to simulate their effects.
Showing what drugs do before kids learn to drive is important, he said, so they remember when they’re actually behind the wheel.
Kevin Harris, owner of Fingerlakes Shaolin-Do Kung Fu at 135 Main St., spent the morning teaching students Tai Chi moves.
Students in the high school are under a great deal of stress and social anxiety, Harris said this morning. Having students slow down and focus on breathing and movement is an important life skill, he said.
Tai chi is beneficial to reducing stress and focuses on relaxation, Harris explained. He said that by teaching students to be present in the moment, a major component of the practice, it will help them examine their emotions.
Suzi Watkins, owner and instructor of Studio LivFit in Dryden, was also there teaching students a blend of pilates and yoga, commonly known as Pilates.
Watkins said that physical education focuses primarily on sports, and for kids that are not competitive or uninterested in sports, their options in school arelimited.
She wanted to come to Wellness Day to give those students a non-competitive form of exercise.
“I saw these kids trying the moves and smiling,” Watkins said in an email this morning. “When the class was over the look of accomplishment on their faces was awesome. They were sweating and laughing and so proud that their bodies were able to do what they just did and they were surprised at how much fun they had exercising.”

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