Return to Headlines

Wellness means fun at Woodbridge Academy

Wellness means fun at MCVTS Woodbridge Academy

It started with snacks – healthy snacks such as veggie sticks and fruit cups – as a wellness program kicked off at Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge.

The Whole School Wellness Initiative, a pilot program funded by a $15,000 grant from the state Department of Health, will include monthly workshops beginning next month and continuing throughout the school year and for the next two school years.

The Piscataway Campus of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools has received a similar grant.

The Nov. 30 Woodbridge Academy kickoff event began with all 270 students gathered in the gym for an assembly. They showed their approval by snapping their fingers as the rest of the program was explained by master of ceremonies Eric Shandroff – a poet known as Myster E because he’s “a mystery.”

The biggest applause came when Principal Terri Ann Sullivan announced the snacks. She joked that the choice of two mini-workshops to attend “felt like a very big decision” to her ever-serious students.

But once they broke into smaller groups for the workshops, the fun began.

The workshop topics included coloring, holiday crafts, meditation, yoga, and aroma therapy.

Myster E led a session on creative expression, including poetry and rap.

“Rap is something you do; hip-hop is something you live,” he explained. “Rap is just one element of hip-op.”

Carolyn Herbert led a workshop on biomedical drawing – right up the alley of the academy’s students. She explained that anatomical drawing dates back to the Renaissance and Leonardo da Vinci.

“He connected science with nature and art,” she said.

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Health Project hopes to combat chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and help students understand the connection between health and academic achievement.

“The focus is on relieving the stress and anxiety of these students,” said Dr. Tracey Maccia, MCVTS director of special education and the project director for the grant. “That’s why we concentrated on mindfulness, meditation, yoga. The research says these activities increase academic achievement.”