By Kevin J Sabo For the Advance
Developing sound “keystone habits” was one of the many takeaways the high school students learned during the Student Wellness Symposium on Feb. 22.
The theme of the keynote address, presented by Brownfield Church Pastor Al Richardson, was “high performance and health and wellness.”
Richardson, a former personal trainer, discussed simple habits that have been shown to improve people’s success in life. Examples he provided are making your bed and getting proper exercise, skills that build someone’s willpower and start the day on a solid footing.
“Keystone habits are small wins that encourage other positive habits,” said Richardson.
Organised by local teachers, Clearview Public Schools, and Alberta Health services, the high-school students spent the day in different breakout sessions — each focusing on something different including an open and honest discussion on anxiety and depression given by a Gus Wetter School alumnus, water canvas mindfulness sessions, snowshoeing down by the Castor Creek, and even a bonfire that students could relax at and cook marsh-mellows on.
The students had a large range of healthy activities and learning environments to take part in.
Corrections Officer Kassidy Hronek, who graduated from Gus Wetter School in 2014, spoke to various groups about her battle with mental illness, and how it extended back to when she was in high-school herself.
“I didn’t realise that mental illness was a thing back then,” said Hronek. “You don’t know what someone else is going through.”
Hronek was open with the fact that she takes medication for her anxiety and depression, with her symptoms at one point being so bad she was hospitalised. However, she rebounded and discussed the accommodations she had to make to her work schedule to keep herself healthy. This included the medication and arranging with another officer so she would not be required to work nights.
Chili, buns, and vegetables were provided to the students for lunch, and then the high-school kids assembled in the gymnasium to listen to local musician Jaron Rovensky. Rovensky, who grew up in Coronation, has been a world traveler before returning to East Central Alberta just over a year ago. He spoke about growing up in what he described as a “broken home,” and how he coped with music.
“Music started out as a form of therapy for me,” said Rovensky. “Then people started paying me to make music. I’ve been taught extraordinary things.”
Moving to Ontario when he turned 18, the well traveled musician has lived in India, the U.S, the U.K, and all over the Caribbean working as a musician the entire time. He spoke about the importance of music, how despite differences people are very similar everywhere, and performed several songs, during which he managed to get over a hundred students sing the chorus of “Hallelujah.”
Staff organisers were happy with how the day turned out and are hopeful that it can be a yearly event.