Introducing THS’s First Wellness Day


Karis Cho and Gia Shin

From the chaos of readjusting to a fully in-person school year in first semester to the unprecedented hacking frenzy just before finals week, mental health has reached new levels of importance this school year. To help promote the importance of mental health, the Stigma-Free Club is introducing Tenafly High School’s first-ever Wellness Day scheduled for Monday, June 20th. 

The idea first surfaced when club members were reminiscing about previous Wellness Days at the middle school where students were engaged in various activities to promote wellbeing. Such activities included petting therapy dogs in the field, meditating in the auditorium, or learning self-defense on the gym mats. Though a national adolescent mental health emergency was declared in 2021, it was quickly overlooked in many school settings, where catching up on a year’s worth of lost content was given top priority. Due to the sudden increase in mental health issues as a result of the pandemic, the Stigma-Free Club found it imperative that Tenafly High School prioritizes students’ wellbeing.

Although acknowledging the problem is the first step to solving it, the mental health crisis wasn’t going to disappear anytime soon. The club realized that the way to get students to actively work on their mental health was through a school-wide Wellness Day modeled after the Wellness Day from the middle school. Through the efforts of many hopeful emails and awkward phone calls, the club members and advisors were able to coordinate a variation of Wellness Day dedicated to one period rather than a full day. In preparation of the day, students were sent a Google Form from Mrs. Zlasney. Through the form, students were able to indicate their preferred activities to be done during their respective gym periods. Some of the activities offered include Suminagashi Ink Washing, instructor-led Zumba classes, and the fan-favorite: therapy dogs.

Throughout the year, the Stigma-Free Club has initiated other activities to promote wellness, including holiday drives to donate gifts to children in hospitals, a joint effort with the S.O. to plan wellness weeks, and Lime-Out sports games. The club hopes to broaden its ambitions even further next year with a full day dedicated to wellness by taking what it learned from this year’s event and refining it to be even more effective.

“I was part of the committee planning for Wellness Day and I worked with such a wonderful team and was often so moved by the amount of effort and work both students and THS staff put [into making] this happen,” Jeanie Lee (’23) said. “There were [several] setbacks on the way but I love how our team found ways to still make the day a success.” Though this year’s Wellness Day will not be nearly sufficient to address Tenafly High School’s looming academic pressure or solve anyone’s problems, the club hopes to create an important tradition where mental health and wellness are acknowledged and prioritized, and quell the stress of students and staff who went through a trying and turbulent year. The club hopes that students will be genuinely excited to seize this opportunity to get a proper mental health break, and that it will spark further conversations about the importance of general mental wellness for future generations at Tenafly High School.