Secondary students come together for first annual Student Wellness Summit

Dozens of middle and high school students gathered at Colorado State University for the first annual Student Wellness Summit on Thursday.  

Hosted by the PSD Wellness Department, the conference was the first of its kind in the state of Colorado. Students learned about neuroscience, toured campus, practiced a dance routine, and attended breakout sessions on global health and leadership. 

"We want students to learn how to be health and wellness advocates and leaders in their schools," Amanda Brantley, Health Education and Wellness Coordinator said.  

The conference brought together like-minded students, many of whom already serve on their school's Student Wellness Committee.  

"Most people here are really passionate about this," Fossil Ridge sophomore Karen Manley said. "It's important for us to give our input as part of the school district."  

Manley covers the mental health beat for the Fossil Ridge's school newspaper, Etched in Stone.   

"It can be hard, because I write about things that are really personal and share them with the whole school — but it's something that needs to be talked about to help defeat the stigma," she said.  

One of her favorite parts of the day was learning about ways to help other students feel more safe and stable, tips that she can then share in her newspaper column. 

"They’re educating a little population of each school on this, so kids can take the knowledge back to their home school and share it with their friends," explained Jo Dixon, Physical Education Teacher at Lesher Middle School. 

The ripple effect was obvious in conversations around the room, as Fort Collins High School students brainstormed about starting a wellness club in the spring and Lesher students planned presentations to their faculty about brain breaks.  

"We're hoping kids will leave with an objective, and know that they can make a difference and their voices are heard," Brantley said. "Empowering students to take care of their health is how we move society forward."