With the arrival of spring in Medina came Peace Week: an event hosted by MHS’ “Students Against Destructive Decisions” club, or SADD for short. Each day had a unique theme regarding the safety and wellbeing of students, one of those being the famous Turtle Therapy Thursday, where students had an opportunity to interact with several emotional support tortoises.
Peace Week ran the week of March 18 to March 22, before the long awaited spring break. Robert Blue, the prevention coordinator at Medina, explains the overarching goal of Peace Week. “The purpose of Peace Week is to encourage students to seek peace, to make good decisions, to manage their emotions, and to be mindful of their surroundings,” Blue stated.
Mansi Pathak, a sophomore member of SADD, was extremely pleased with the outcome of Peace Week and the impact it left on Medina High School. “I feel this event was very effective,” Pathak commented. “Turtle Therapy Thursday placed so many smiles on people’s faces, it was amazing.”
The tortoises were not only present to bring joy, they were also there to illustrate good coping mechanisms. At each table were piles of colorful notes, each with helpful reminders and mental health tips written on them. Students and staff that came to see the tortoises could take as many cards as they needed.
“I wanted to use tortoises as an example of an animal, a creature, that manages their emotions pretty well. They do a good job. They have good coping strategies. They’re very resilient creatures,” Blue explains. Unfortunately, many students across the nation have a tough time dealing with life conflicts, such as substance abuse, mental illness, or relationship issues. As prevention coordinator, Blue’s job is to educate struggling students and give them the tools necessary to make better decisions.
“We should reach out to each other and help each other, to try to reduce the stigma associated with having a problem, whether it’s a family problem, a substance abuse problem, an emotional problem, or just a self-esteem problem.” Blue states. “It’s okay to not be okay, and let’s help each other work through that.” The event was key in bringing more awareness to the stigma found with addressing mental health. Peace Week, and in particular, Turtle Therapy Thursday, brought attention to the stress we go through in everyday life.
“Peace Week, in my opinion, means encouraging more happiness and calmness in our society,” Pathak says. With Peace Week bringing more awareness of the harmful effects of drugs, particularly the addictive nicotine in vaping, SADD will be organizing a support group for students who want to quit smoking, drugs, and prevent making destructive decisions.
“It’s a student-led thing that will be held weekly during 12th period in the black box for any student who’s having a hard time,” Blue explains. “We’re hoping those students can support each other and come up with some ways, strategies, and just good old emotional support to get off it if they want to.” If you have any questions about SADD or would like to pay Mr. Blue a visit, be sure to schedule an appointment in the lower white office or send an email to [email protected].