Above: Mindfulness poster by Maddie and Mio.

Student-Driven Project Offers a Fresh Perspective on Mental Health 

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 14, 2022


hen assigned a topic with creative freedom to explore, you run with it. 
That’s exactly what happened at the Stress and Wellness Fair on November 30, hosted by the Grade 8s at Russell Reid Public School. 

Above: Alexis and Meisha give tips on how to cope with stress.

Students were asked to define stress, examine chemical imbalances, differentiate between types of stress, and learn about coping strategies. The rest was up to their imagination. Between 13 groups, students used a wide array of interactive media, including slide decks, TikTok videos, songs and dances, word searches, stress-relieving toys, mental health resources and more.

When asked why it’s important to talk about stress, Grade 8 student Maddie said, “There are a lot of bad things going on in the world that can be stressful, like what we saw with the Black Lives Matter movement and stress in school.”

“Teens are overwhelmed with social media. Comparing yourself to others is a big problem, and now even children are gaining followers,” added her friend, Mio. 
Unique learning opportunities like the Stress and Wellness Fair allow students to explore topics in a way that’s meaningful to them. Russell Reid Principal, Mark Fraser said, “I learned a thought-provoking insight into stress from Alex and Morgan; ‘Stress is not a barrier to happiness, but a way for growth.’ The event was a fantastic display of student leadership, knowledge, understanding and mindfulness.”

Above: Hudson explains the different types of support we can offer during stressful times.

To ensure students gained a complete understanding of the complex topics explored, they presented their findings to both their Grade 8 peers, and Russell Reid’s junior and intermediate students.

“Students have really upped their game and did a fantastic job on their assignments, and hopefully they can apply  this work to their transition into secondary school next year,” said a beaming Ms. McColl, Grade 8 teacher at Russell Reid. “I find it useful to work with our Child and Youth Workers, combined with Specialized Services, as the students become involved more and more in such a complex world.” 

Students worked closely with Child and Youth Worker Shari Wencel, who sparked interest and encouraged them to take control of their learning journey. 

Student-guided projects like the Stress and Wellness Fair support Grand Erie’s mission to nurture curiosity and opportunity for each learner, and build a culture of belonging to support equitable, inclusive and responsive learning environments.

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to see more photos from the Stress and Wellness Fair.

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