Wellness Team Steps Up During Pandemic

Anyone up for a challenge?

A non-traditional ending to classes this year did not stand in the way of the St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Wellness Team bringing together faculty and students with a Wellness Active Challenge.

In April, members of the SMCS Wellness Team were tasked with coming up with ideas to promote and encourage wellness during the pandemic.

SMCS student participates in the Wellness Team Active Challenge

“One of our senior leaders, Will O’Brien (Grade 12), came up with the idea of bringing the entire school community together with a wellness active challenge,” says Norah Higgins, SMCS Wellness Team moderator and Guidance Counsellor. “The goal was to get as many students and staff as possible active during the pandemic. All of this screen time and isolation from others was not positive for anyone’s mental or physical health.”

The challenge began on May 13 and lasted for three weeks. Each week, students would send in clips of themselves keeping active.

“As a member of the Wellness team, I felt a responsibility to do something that would help keep us connected. Staying active benefits all of us both mentally and physically,” says Will O’Brien. “The videos that were submitted were compiled and shown on the morning video announcements to encourage more participation. Also, having the teachers join in really helped.”

The variety of submissions included everything from pushups, chin-ups, weighted squats, and core exercises to creative ways to practice individual lacrosse, basketball, and hockey skills, and much more.

“I had my own personal fitness goals to do something active every day, like going for a run or shooting hoops on my driveway,” says Lukas Kovar, a Grade 8 student and wellness team member. “I enjoyed being part of this challenge knowing I was helping in a small way to promote personal wellness for other students.”

SMCS student participates in Wellness Active Challenge during the pandemic.

“Participating in the event was an especially enjoyable experience and I was able to inspire others while benefiting my own personal health,” says Andrew Lobo, Grade 11. “Engaging in physical activity gave me a break from my studies, refreshed my mind, and relieved some stress.”

To cap off the initiative, random names were drawn from the list of all participants and prizes were awarded to students and faculty.

“Over the years, physical activity has always been a priority in my daily routine. In addition to the obvious physiological benefits, I truly feel the positive effects it has on my stress, mood, confidence, and sleep,” says Brian Lachcik, geography teacher at SMCS, and one of the fortunate random draw winners. “I participated in the challenge to motivate and encourage our SMCS community to be more active, especially when finding ourselves immersed in technology for school, work, or play.”

At the conclusion of the event, a final video compilation was put together by the Wellness team to highlight the many participants:

The Wellness team plans to continue the active challenge in the fall and encourages students or staff to submit video footage to Ms. Higgins (higgins@smcsmail.com) of how they are staying active during the summer months.