Reality Week teaches healthy choices

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Grace Vance

After a month of planning, numerous Pinterest searches and a think tank of ideas, outreach counselor Lesley Thalhuber and guidance intern Brooke Smith organized an event called Reality Week. The week spanned from Mar. 21-25, with activities like “Hats Off to Safe Driving” and “Move and Groove” for each day of the week. Thalhuber said the purpose of the week was to raise awareness in a fun, accessible way for students.
“We all need a reality check sometimes; a reminder to wear our seatbelts, never ride with a drunk driver and manage stress healthfully. It’s simple everyday choices we make that can make or break us,” Thalhuber said. “The week before spring break is a great opportunity to remind students about making safe and healthy choices now and in the future.”
Smith, who worked closely with Thalhuber to plan the events, said her main objective was to present ideas and help plan. She and Thalhuber said ideas came together well with the guidance of the HHS coordinator of reality week and the University of Missouri-Columbia Wellness Center.
“My main role was to plan out the week and make sure there were engaging and educational activities happening each day,” Smith said. “Both her and I wanted a majority of students to benefit from each activity offered and take something away from it.”
In addition, Smith said they scheduled most of the activities to happen during lunch hours to ensure each student has the opportunity to participate.
For Physics teacher Kory Kaufman, Reality Week held potential for extending classroom material into real life situations. He said the safe driver’s presentation, which took place on Monday, was a great way to utilize that knowledge.
“In our Physics class we are going to be focusing on the physics behind driving,” Kaufman said. “It is very easy to tie in what we’re learning in Physics to driving, so that’s what I’m hoping I can do.”
Similar to Kaufman, junior Emerson McNamee believes reality week is an effective way to spread awareness about safe driving, smoking, exercise and other lifestyle choices.
[quote cite=”Lesley Thalhuber”]We all need a reality check sometimes; a reminder to wear our seatbelts, never ride with a drunk driver and manage stress healthfully. It’s simple everyday choices we make that can make or break us.[/quote] “I think it’s a very good idea. It introduces students to life lessons, things that they can’t [always] learn in school,” McNamee said. “There are ways you can approach [these topics] as a student and there are ways you can approach it as a teacher, and [it’s] nice to see their perspective.”
This different perspective was embodied through Smith, who graduated high school in 2011. Because of this position, she said she understands how easy it is for students to make unhealthy decisions.
“Reality Week is important to me because it brings those unhealthy and unwise decisions students continuously make to the [forefront] and addresses them along with raising awareness for them,” Smith said. “I think the hope is that students and staff start to evaluate the unhealthy choices they are making in their lives and substitute those choices for better ones. Our hope is that this week raises awareness [for] difficult topics that many people shy away from addressing.”
In Thalhuber’s eyes, reality week achieved her intent: to help as many students as possible make healthy decisions.
“I work with a lot of kids that have difficulty managing stress,” Thalhuber said. “For me it was really important to have kids show up for Relaxation Station today and kind of be surprised at how breath work practices can really work in a pretty quick manner. That made me really happy.”
Despite the triumphs, she said there is still things to be improved on. Next year she hopes to advertise the week more, something she things may be attributed to this being her first year at RBHS.
“I want to figure out a way to do some better advertising to think about what we’re doing to get the word out and get people really excited and pumped up about some of the things,” Thalhuber said. “I hope it grows. I hope I can reach more students next year.”
Did you enjoy the reality week activities? Leave a comment below!