Carmel Valley school enjoys finding healthy balance at Wellness Day

The student body and faculty of Canyon Crest Academy put their regular curriculum aside recently to participate in the first Wellness Day.

The objective of this event, held Oct. 17, was for the CCA community to focus on study/life balance, wellness, and making connections with each other.

Robin Duncan, a part of CCA’s faculty for nine years, said that the idea for Wellness Day came after last year’s Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation visit. While CCA received extremely high marks in most areas, WASC identified a need to create student connectedness and help students deal with the high academic pressures that are prevalent on campus. A focus on mental health awareness was also suggested.

Principal Karl Mueller assembled a Wellness Committee, made up of 10 teachers and counselors, who created the curriculum for the day. Duncan, who was a part of the committee, said that they wanted students to understand that “they are more than their GPA.”

Each of the day’s four periods had a theme: Student Connectedness, Balance, Leadership, and Community. Teachers were given prompts and talking points, with suggestions for TedX videos, other multimedia aids, and activities that supported the theme.

Freshman Olivia Bertsch reported that the balance meditation activity was her favorite: “It was so relaxing and I felt like it was a great way to relieve stress.”

Sophomore Pierce Bond, whose class made videos of each other, enjoyed the leadership activities. “It was inspiring to learn about the other kids in the class,” he said.

In addition to students getting to know their fellow students better, the event also had an impact on them. “The activities were a great opportunity to see the students as real people and vice versa,” Duncan said. “I felt different when I came back to school. I knew the kids better.”

The day concluded with an impromptu dance party in the quad, which celebrated the new connections made by CCA students and faculty with each other and to the school community.

Feedback about the day has been overwhelmingly positive, and the district is discussing the possibility of more Wellness Days.