Exercise, drug prevention, spirituality building and stress prevention revitalize Helias Catholic during ‘Wellness Week’ by Addison Lucas

Messages of spiritual, physical, and mental well-being were being spread throughout the hallways of Helias Catholic High School from Oct. 28-31. The school was celebrating “Wellness Week,” informing students of the different aspects of wellness.

Organized by Mary Flowers, Ron Vossen, and Sr. Julie Brandt, “Wellness Week” was packed with activities for students. Planning for the week started near the end of the last school year.

“Mr. Vossen, Sr. Julie, and I were talking about how sometimes you don’t have time in regular classes to do things like this,” said Mary Flowers, a counselor at Helias, adding, “to talk about spiritual wellness and how you live that out, or discuss the dangers of drugs and alcohol.”

The week started with an all-school assembly on Tuesday morning, as the students had Monday off. This assembly centered mostly around spiritual wellness, with the President of Helias, Fr. Steven Jones, telling students not to be “spiritual couch potatoes” and to exercise their faith. Also on Tuesday, all freshman religion classes participated in a workshop for suicide prevention. Volunteer opportunities for all students to take advantage of were presented during lunch periods by various charity organizations.

On Wednesday, seniors attended workshops on relationships, self-esteem, and stress. The whole school gathered for an assembly at the end of the day. The assembly featured a speaker from Crossroads Recovery Program’s Mike Weiland, who is 24 years sober. The talk was sponsored by “Learn, Talk, Live” and the Annie Marie Project, and Weiland discussed the problems he has had with drugs and alcohol. Many students enjoyed this speaker, some even saying that he was the best that they had seen.

The next day the Weiland came back to Helias with another man who had also had problems with drugs and alcohol in the past. The two talked exclusively to the freshman and sophomore classes, answering any and all questions that they would have for them. Students asked several questions, some having to do with drugs and the problems they can cause, others having to do with Weiland’s beard.

At lunch periods on Thursday, students witnessed physical wellness. A fitness trainer from Jefferson City’s local YMCA, Jake Bayless, encouraged Crusaders to do “Bowsu Ball Squats,” an exercise that required a lot of leg strength. Many students were entertained as their teachers and fellow classmates competed to see who could balance longer while squatting on stabilized exercise balls.

The week ended Friday with a “Jeans and Tennis Shoes Day,” where students were encouraged to ditch their usual khakis and boat shoes. Teachers were also encouraged to do something fun during class times, because laughter can improve wellness.

Students and teachers alike celebrated “Wellness Week” of 2014. Flowers confirmed that Helias Crusaders can look forward to a “Wellness Week” next year as well.

“We’ll probably have more workshops,” said Flowers, adding, “where individuals can choose what they’d like to hear about.”

Students will have to wait a while for the next “Wellness Week” to come to Helias. This year’s, though, filled Helias Catholic High School with the laughter of students who were happy to participate in the week’s activities.

“If we made every student just have one new thought about wellness, either spiritual, emotional, or physical,” said Flowers, adding, “or, if we made them laugh once, we’d be happy with what we’d done.”


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