“I learned that teenagers who are into marijuana and drugs can risk stress and depression and they could get addicted,” said 14-year-old Monroe High School ninth grader Linda Lopez Gutierrez. “I also learned that it’s important to wash your hands because you can get bacteria on them and get sick. You’re supposed to scrub hard for 10 seconds, with hot water to get all the bacteria off.”
School nurses from Union County Public Schools sponsored the event, which was presented by Queens University of Charlotte’s Accelerated Bachelors of Science in Nursing (ABSN) students.
High school students rotated through information booths that were set up in the schools’ gyms, manned by Queens students. “These Queens nursing students are in a Community Health Class. They are reaching out to the community to create health and wellness,” said Monroe High School nurse Angel Bunce.
The fairs covered topics that organizers felt teens may have to deal with on a daily basis, such as nutrition and exercise, cyber bullying, texting while driving, dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco, benefits of staying in school, tattoo and piercing safety, depression and teenage suicide, proper hand washing and coughing and dental health.
Two of the Queens students made a large wall poster that had students pledge not to bully, at school or online. “We tried to use the school colors on the poster and the T-shirts,” said Queens University nursing student Laura Pipkin. “We wanted to do something that could remain at the school after the fair was over.”
“It’s important to stamp out bullying so kids can have that self confidence that allows them to grow into the person they are meant to be,” said Queens University nursing student Elizabeth Kovach. “Bullying totally obliterates one’s sense of self confidence, which is essential to a young person’s growth.”
To bring this point home, a poster was on display with nine smiling faces of teens, ages 12 to 18. All had been victims of bullying and all had committed suicide.
Wendy Nielsen, UCPS school nurse supervisor, said the health fairs went well and students from both Sun Valley and Monroe high schools seemed very engaged and interested in the information being offered.
This article was provided courtesy of the Communications Office of the Union County Public Schools.
2012 Monroe Scoop