Note to readers: Welcome to our new series of “Clubs At Keystone,” where we highlight a student club and how they shape the Keystone Community. We hope you will tune in every edition to see the fun things our students do here! -From, Derek Wong, Co-Editor-In-Chief
In a word, COVID-19 and high school have been stressful. Online schooling, about six hours of Zoom daily, college apps, standardized test preparation—you name it. While most students might simply feel bogged down by all the stress, two students, Ali Wu and Karina Sauceda, have strived to not only help relieve stress for themselves but to relieve stress for the entire high school through the club Wellness Council.
Wellness Council is Keystone’s student mental health club. Last school year, Wellness Council would be in charge of our advisory circles, organize the chemical dependency talks, plan relaxing activities before midterms and finals, and host hot chocolate socials. Altogether, the club has strived to better the health—both mental and physical—of Keystone students through their tough and rigorous course and better the health of all Keystone students through stress-relieving activities.
However, as Karina and Ali took leadership of the club, COVID-19 hit. However, instead of giving up on the club, the co-presidents of Wellness Council instituted changes to fulfill their personal goals: making Wellness Council more impactful and helping all the high school grades to connect. First, they combined all grades into advisory circles. In the past, each grade would be divided into three groups for advisory circles, a weekly, discussion-based period for students. However, this year, Wellness Council had all the students complete a survey asking for interests; using that survey, everyone across the high school was divided into groups of about ten people to talk and play games during the weekly time slot. Karina and Ali are particularly fond of Pictionary. They recalled playing Pictionary with the senior class; after everyone was thoroughly addicted to the game, Karina and Ali knew that they had to share the game with the advisory circles.
Not only has Wellness Council changed the advisory circles, but the fundamental structure of how the club is run has also changed. This year, Ali and Karina implemented what Mrs. Raymer, the past club advisor, had suggested: the roughly 25-member club is divided into two sections: the Creative Committee and the Advisor Leaders Committee. Karina and Ali frequently meet one-on-one for any time ranging from thirty minutes to two hours, discussing any idea they have for the club. They then pitch the ideas to the Creative Committee, who then offer their suggestions. Finally, they notify the Advisor Leaders Committee of the plans for advisory which they execute.
Despite the pandemic, both Karina and Ali have found joy in the club’s accomplishments. They are particularly proud of the change they were able to bring to the club’s internal structure and how they were able to make advisory more fun and are incorporating more into the circles. They are especially proud of casting a brighter light on the club. In the future, they hope that they’ll be able to cater different advisory activities to different groups of people based on their interests, decorate the Wellness Council board in Stevensons monthly as soon as we go back on campus, get more involved with charity, and be more accessible to all students. Ali and Karina have set a strong base for the club and hope to pass it on to the next passionate leaders to improve on it even further.
On the call with Ali and Karina, I could feel their passion for the club, and it was contagious. COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives and has taken a toll on nearly everyone. As co-presidents of the student mental health club, Ali and Karina had a massive responsibility, and yet they stepped up to the challenge to help the school stay connected and healthy. Before talking with them, I admired the changes they brought to the advisory circles, helping students connect between grades. However, after talking to them, my admiration deepened, as they fundamentally changed the club to help better the mental health of the entire school. Through my discussion, they were open and wanting to talk to others in different grades and know how they’re doing. Their natural care shines brightest in the club which is now a form of connection in Keystone High School. I look forward to the surprises and changes the Wellness Council will bring, and I can’t wait to see how the club continues to grow over time.
Follow Wellness Council on their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kswellnesscouncil/