Covering Wellness at Middle School
Week of Wellness
at Sayville Middle School
For 20 years, Sayville Middle School has been offering Wellness Week, a program that addresses health and wellness issues such as anti-bullying, destructive decisions, hate crimes, tolerance, as well as Fire and Railroad Safety.
This year for Wellness, the Middle School program put DASA in sharp focus. Since New York State passed the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) in 2010, DASA awareness has been embedded in Sayville school programs and training.This law ensures that all students are protected from harassment, discrimination and bullying because of “actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, weight (or other physical features), sexual orientation, gender identity, or biological sex.” Wellness Week reinforced D.A.S.A. training for students and faculty through topics presented by a variety of guest speakers.
Launching the Wellness Week assembly, guest STRONG MAN Jon Pritikin gave an unforgettable presentation about bullying. Besides impressing the students with his enormous strength (ripping apart phone books, curling iron pan—a feat which has earned him citation in the Guinness Book of World Records, hoisting students up in the air for a helicopter spin, and bending an iron bar in his teeth) Pritikin touched their hearts with his true story of being a victim of bullying. His message was also shared during a special Sayville Middle School's Family Night presentation.
The opening day program also included an array of favorite guests speakers (see list below) who provided DASA themed reminders in such topics as anti-bullying, tolerance toward others, L.I.R.R. track safety, Fire prevention, ALS awareness and promotion for the Ride For Life program, Athletes with Disabilities, drug education, and consequences for poor choices and decisions.
All week, students wore color wristbands that were inscribed with awareness or violence-prevention messages and corresponded to the day’s theme: (Yellow-Bullying prevention; Blue-Support ALS; Red-Anti-violence; Green-Stop destructive decisions; Purple-Cancer awareness).
“Morning and afternoon announcements focused on prevention education, and were made by the Leadership Students in 8th grade,” Principal Thomas Murray stated. “The focus of our Wellness Week,” he continued, “is always on making healthy choices, learning to respect each other, and despite our differences and abilities, being tolerant and open to each other. Youth Alliance provided workshops on overcoming bullying, staying strong to your goals, and stopping bullying when we see it. There was a night program for parents and students with the same theme, and the D.A.S.A. training to teachers was provided through Youth Alliance as well.”
Again this year, the annual Wellness program was spearheaded by Student Assistance Counselor Paul Simonsen who coordinated the guest Wellness speakers along with Mr. Murray and Mrs. Lloyd-Matthews who assisted with topic information and faculty training. Even after twenty years, the Wellness program continues to provide workshops because it is never too early to teach our youth wellness behaviors that can be, at best preventative, if not life changing.
List of Speakers
Chrisann Fabio–LIRR track Safety
Nancy Ward–Police Officer
Ralph Marchese–Athletes With Disabilities
Christ Pendergast–ALS Ride for Life
Bobby Lloyd–Drug Addictions
Donald Marra–Fire Safety
Melanie Holz–Drug Prevention
Alisty Kenneth–Hate Crimes, intolerance vs being tolerant.