The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Where did Wildcat wellness go?

Where+did+Wildcat+wellness+go%3F
Rhea Noumair

Students at WJ appreciate Wellness Wednesdays because they were designed to be stress-free days to make-up missing assignments and prepare for future tests. Not only does this benefit students by encouraging them to study and do their homework, but it also lets students get extra help from their teachers. On these days, I use my time to study for classes such as Anatomy or listen to music and relax. However, some teachers don’t always follow this and give work on these days which is incredibly frustrating.

Wildcat Wednesday days were implemented at WJ during the pandemic to allow students to have a stress-free day to catch up on work. During online school, Wednesdays were asynchronous learning days and the year after that, we went to our homerooms for Wildcat Wellness. Further, other initiatives such as a 60-minute lunch period have been implemented to let students relax, have the opportunity to talk to their teachers and catch up with friends.

However, since then, wellness at WJ has changed multiple times. Now, wellness occurs during a specific subject that changes each week on Wednesdays. This is unfair because some students may not have the class that wellness was assigned to that week. Does the school really care about the wellness of students?

“Sometimes I’ll have four wellness periods in one day and other times I won’t have wellness for a month. I don’t think the wellness system is efficient because it’s very unbalanced and doesn’t truly show the real meaning of wellness,” senior Mackenzie Raue said.

Wildcat Wednesday was designed to allow students to catch up on classwork, but it also promotes students’ mental health and well-being holistically.

To limit the number of tests each day, actions such as limiting each department to two testing days during the final two weeks of the quarter have been implemented. For example, for Semester 1, Math was given Mondays and Thursdays to test while Social Studies, Careers and Art were given Tuesdays and Wednesdays. However, few teachers follow this guideline, which makes students feel overlooked.

This could mean having four tests back to back, when the intention of this schedule was to prevent this issue from happening.

Students also report that they don’t always have wellness in their classes on these assigned days. This causes students to feel overwhelmed because it prevents them from getting a chance to study for a test in their next period like they planned.

Honors English 9 and APEX Reach English 9 teacher Janelle Ryan implemented wellness in her classroom by having Workshop Wednesday every week. This could mean having wellness even when the week is shortened due to school holidays. This differs from the school Wednesday wellness because the schedule tends to eliminate wellness when we don’t have a five-day week.

“I do not provide new instruction on Wednesdays. My students work independently or in groups as needed, and they are asked to prioritize their English assignments on these days. Allowing students to have a day of class to work on assignments also provides me with the opportunity to meet individually with students as needed and to provide students with time in class to make up missed assignments,” Ryan said.

The one-hour lunch policy for student wellness allows students to have one hour of free time during the school day and lets students refresh their brains and relax. However, on days when we have assemblies, our lunches get dramatically shorter which forces students to have less of a break and time away from lectures or feverish note-taking. When we have assemblies and a triple third schedule, our lunch drops to 35 minutes. This does not allow for wellness.

Ryan is a big advocate of upholding the 60-minute lunch period and other wellness initiatives that have been implemented.

“[Wellness initiatives] have made a positive difference for me and, most importantly, in the lives of most students … We have said as a school that it is important and have changed the length of our lunch period to emphasize its importance, so I would prefer to preserve the 60-minute lunch and other wellness initiatives whenever possible, even when we have to change the schedule for special events,” Ryan said.

With all this in mind, WJ should have Wednesday Wellness where students go to homeroom for 45 minutes before first period. This would give students a chance to do homework they did not do the night before, study for tests that day or even sleep. For assembly days, I believe WJ should take a few minutes from each class and only 10-15 minutes from lunch as a compromise to having enough class time and still giving students enough lunch time.

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About the Contributors
Lily Tapparo, Senior Sports Editor
Senior Lily Tapparo is excited to participate in her first year with the Pitch as a Senior Sports Editor. In addition to writing for the Pitch, Lily plays soccer, is an officer for Best Buddies, and enjoys hanging with her friends.
Rhea Noumair, Print Opinion Editor and Illustrator
Junior Rhea Noumair is in her third year of Pitch and is the Print Opinion Editor and Illustrator. She enjoys playing and watching soccer, painting and listening to music in her free time.
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