A Rewarding Life Skills Day

On November 18, students in Classes 8-11 took a break from their regular schedules – and their uniforms – to participate in special programming that focused on fortifying their physical and emotional health while offering practical tips for moving through the world with confidence, kindness and fun. (Class 12 used the less structured time to work on their college applications and catch up on their sleep.)

“Life Skills Day was designed to build lifelong wellness skills that aren’t always covered in an academic context,” explained Middle and Upper School Health Educator Sarah Cyr-Mutty, who organized the event with the assistance of student representatives from each class. “The day also provides a much-needed academic pause (and the opportunity to wake up later!) for students during a stressful time of year.”

Each grade rotated through a different set of workshops, curated to meet their unique needs and requests. The activities were facilitated by Chapin community members as well as outside presenters. Here is a brief grade-by-grade overview:

Class 8

  • “Finance and Investing Basics” with Alum Nina Gunderson ’11
  • “Yoga and Meditation” with Jazmin Tejada
  • "Maximize Your Mind” with Nadia Murray Goodman (Learning Resources Teacher and Class 10 Dean)
  • “Peer-Facilitated Conversations” with Class 12 students

Class 9

  • Day-long “Violence Prevention Workshops” presented by Prepare, the comprehensive program used by Chapin

Class 10

  • “Financial Nutrition” with Dr. Melissa Donohue
  • “Yoga and Meditation” with Jazmin Tejada
  • “Navigating Stress and Anxiety” with Ashley Rainford
  • “Finding Calm in Chaos” with Jess Geevarghese
  • “Speed Skills”*

Class 11

  • “Drug and Alcohol Education” with Sarah Cyr-Mutty (Health Educator)
  • “Born This Way” with Anne Bae (Athletic Trainer and Fitness Specialist) and Marisa Maccario (Manager of Fitness and Wellness)
  • Speed Skills*
  • Early Dismissal (#FreeTheJuniors!)

*Speed Skills in-house “experts” included:
Karey Boals (Director of College Guidance): Table Manners
Anita Cheng (Middle School Health Educator): How to Really Apologize
Suzanne Fogarty (Head of School): Balancing Yoga Poses
Chef Leo Goltser: Basic and Fancy Knife Skills
Trude Goodman (Associate Head of Middle School & Director of Middle School Academic Technology): Basic and Nifty Knot Tying
Xiomara Hall (Director of Middle and Upper School Admissions): How to Talk to Anyone 
Tremaine Monshizadeh (Director of Student Life): How to Find the Best Deal
Liza Oldham (Director of the Annenberg Center for Learning and Research): Basic Sewing and Mending
Daniela Seagrove (Associate Director of College Guidance): How to Crochet

Life Skills Day wrapped up in the Athletic Center as the classes competed in a friendly trivia contest and enjoyed more time to relax and unwind. The students also received a small goody bags with a gel pen, an inspirational or affirmation card and a Chapin brownie.

“The day was a great success!” remarked Ms. Cyr-Mutty. “Students were buzzing throughout the building all day, and many of them excitedly shared with each other the skills and information they had acquired.” Noting that one of the students expressed that they loved “being able to sleep in and take a mental health day with my friends,” Ms. Cyr-Mutty added, “We definitely achieved our goals of giving the Upper School students a chance to develop a different set of skills as well as have a break from the intensity of academics at the end of the term.”