PLATTSBURGH — In today's fast-paced, fast-food-dominated society, it's difficult to sit down and actually put some thought into healthy living.It's even more difficult to do it while walking around.That's what happened last week at the Plattsburgh High School Wellness Fair, held to raise students' awareness about all aspects of healthy living.Local organizations and businesses attended the event, which was open to all the High School's students, as well as School Board and Health Education Committee members."This is the first Wellness Fair we've had in 15 years," said Kim Quinn, health education coordinator and teacher for the district.Quinn, who was the main force behind organizing the event, said that before the event could take place, certain steps had to be taken through the Tobacco Policy Compliance Initiative."They sent out a survey, which helped gauge students' perceptions of smoking and also inspected the campus. They looked at things like how many cigarette butts were around, as well as anti-smoking signage."Quinn said the inspection was part of a process to ensure that the school was worthy of holding the fair. Once the agency gave the school a favorable report, planning for the event gained steam.More than 15 agencies had individual tables at the Wellness Fair, each with a representative on hand to offer help and answer questions.
One of the more popular stations was a quick kick-boxing lesson offered by Plattsburgh's Villari Studio of Self Defense."This is one of the best workouts you can get," said Leisa Boise, co-owner of the studio. "People sometimes come in very mild and meek and end up leaving with a lot of confidence. We get people ranging from experts to people who have never done this before."The PHS Martial Arts Program demonstration also got a lot of attention. The program was started in November 2006 by Plattsburgh State Health Educator Jeremy Blowers, who was able to retain six students in the program."The program has helped me learn a lot about respect and self-esteem," said Emily Burdo, PHS student and program member. "It's really helped me in my everyday life."Classmate Katrina Ducharme added that her involvement in the program helped dispel the mystique that martial arts is about fighting and hurting people."I think I'd like to pursue more martial-arts training," she said. "I came in with no real experience, aside from gymnastics, and I've really learned a lot, thanks to this program."Because of the professionalism of all the organizations involved and the interest of the students, Quinn felt the Wellness Fair was a success.Each student was provided with a gift bag containing healthy snacks and a mood pencil. The bag provided them with the chance to pick up and carry information from the display tables."I really hope the kids can take something away from this," Quinn said, adding that she hoped this was not a flash-in-the-pan experience.
"If I get the chance to organize something like this again, I'll do it again in a heartbeat."