The administration at Discovery Bay High School in St Ann has initiated several health awareness measures at the school that have received support from not just the school family and community, but corporate Jamaica as well.
Principal Dwayne Mulgrave told The Gleaner on Monday that the healthy lifestyle initiatives will not just improve physical health for the students but also mental awareness, which will positively impact their learning ability as well.
He said the initiatives are in line with efforts by the ministries of health and education to foster a healthier population.
For three days per week the entire school population takes part in the activities – Fruity Tuesdays, Water Wednesday and Fitness Fridays.
“We’ve been getting a really good buy-in from the stakeholders because everybody agrees and should agree that health and wellness has to be the way to go. So the parents are on board, the staff are on board and the students certainly they are loving it,” Mulgrave said.
He explained: “On Tuesday we have fruits, so the students are encouraged to take fruits or to buy the fruits that we provide, and the staff usually take fruits in as well to be shared among the stakeholders.
“Wednesdays we drink water only. We do not buy or sell the regular drinks we would sell in school. Though we are trying to be in compliance with the percentage of sugar that the kids are to take, we have those drinks but we just say you know what, let’s just go with water, which is the best drink.
“Friday is the one that everybody likes. On Friday we get very active and we put away the formal curriculum from around two o’clock and for an hour we engage the informal curriculum and we just get active. And the kids like the fact that we are videoing what they are doing and taking photos so they really get into it.”
Mulgrave said Wisynco, makers of the Wata brand, has seen videos of what’s been happening and have signalled their intention to get on board, especially for Water Wednesday.
The principal argues that healthy people are more productive. Additionally, he pointed out, the activities serve as psychosocial support, especially on Fridays, after a week of intense teaching and learning.
The support is overwhelming.
“Everybody is involved – the ancillary staff, the admin staff – everybody gets involved. It’s one family, one community and one big healthy community will lead to a grand school; that’s what we want,” Mulgrave said.
Outside of the health initiatives the three-year-old school has also included financial well-being as part of its thrust to assist its population and efforts being made to ensure the students become financially literate.
Discovery Bay High School has 410 students on roll, with 31 teachers on staff.