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Fontana Unified High School Students Relieve Stress During ‘Wellness Wednesdays’

FUSD Summit HS

FONTANA, CA – Summit High School students looking to relieve their stress and anxiety rise early on Wednesdays, meet with faculty and staff at the administration tower and take a brisk walk around the school, a routine born from a schoolwide mental health and wellness initiative that includes physical and virtual activities for students and staff.

The most popular feature of the initiative is Wellness Wednesdays, when Summit students and staff are invited to participate in activities designed to calm nerves and bring an air of positivity to the school day. On Wellness Wednesdays, students work on puzzles and play games, meditate, create chalk art and origami figures, and work on building healthy relationships.

“Wellness Wednesdays have been a big hit with Summit students,” Summit High counselor Ruben Casas said. “It’s extremely important that students take care of their well-being, so that they can perform to the best of their abilities. Many of our students have been through a lot of stress and there comes a time when they need to pause, take a breath, and say ‘I got this.’”

On a recent Wednesday at lunch, Summit High students could be found playing Jenga and the color dot game 4-in-a-row, while other students created chalk art. Earlier in the day a handful of students went for an early morning walk. Participants find the activities beneficial, saying that Wellness Wednesdays are soothing, a good way to de-stress, and an event that brings people together.

At the core of Summit High’s wellness initiative is Summit Virtual, a website created for students and staff that provides links to a wealth of self-care websites and calming videos and includes a virtual college and career center and a virtual calming room. Summit Virtual made its debut in 2020 in response to school closures and continues to be a source of support and information for Summit High students.

The virtual college and career center contains links for colleges and universities, financial aid, applications and a motivational commencement speech by actor Denzel Washington. The virtual calming room contains links to live zoo cams, virtual museum tours, healthy recipes, mindfulness videos and even yoga.

Other features of Summit Virtual are links to the Summit counseling newsletter, hotline numbers, grounding techniques, a variety of meditation videos, and calming scenery and music.

“Summit High places a high priority on the mental health and well-being of both students and staff. After so much time away from school, it’s good to have these measures in place, to keep our spirits up and to open the doors to communication and compassion,” Summit High Principal Renee Castanon said. “It couldn’t happen without our amazing staff and student volunteers.”