Annapolis Middle Promotes Healthy Living
The school's seventh-grade students spent Friday morning learning about health-related topics at "Health-a-Palooza."
On Friday, for the first time ever, 12-year-old Kaylah Major ate a slice of a green bell pepper.
"It was actually pretty good," Kaylah said. "I liked it."
Tasting healthy snacks was part of "Health-a-Palooza," a Friday morning festival where Annapolis Middle School's seventh-grade students participated in programs related to health topics.
America's Mrs. Maryland 2012, Anne McConnell, who is also a pediatric nurse, spoke to the kids about skincare.
"I was surprised that they knew quite a bit already," she said. "But we dispelled some of the myths."
Some of the topics McConnell touched on were acne and sun safety.
"The kids were really good learners," she said. "They were so polite."
School nurse Dale Grisby talked to the students about the hazards of smoking. She showed them models of a healthy and unhealthy lung.
"The kids were shocked," Grisby said. "I had one student who said that his mom smokes and he's now going to talk to her about stopping."
Makenna Snidow, 12, said she was most affected by Grisby's presentation.
"I learned a lot of good information," Makenna said.
Other activities at "Health-a-Palooza" included stretching exercises, exploring a large scale model of a colon provided by Anne Arundel Medical Center and learning about substance abuse and bullying.
Science teacher Tair Swepston put the event together.
"I was originally looking for speakers for my science students and it ballooned into this," Swepston said.
She hopes to continue "Health-a-Palooza," in some form, for years to come.
"It's very worthwhile," Swepston said. "The intent is good and the kids are engaged."
History teacher Rosehannah Farrelly also considered the event a great success.
"Honestly, I was shocked by the in-depth questions the students were asking," Farrelly said. "There was some great discussion."