Health and Wellness Fair Bigger than Ever!

South Huntington’s Dr. Jared Bloom is clearly enjoying the da Vinci Robotic Surgery demonstration.
South Huntington’s Dr. Jared Bloom is clearly enjoying the da Vinci Robotic Surgery demonstration.
Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William R. Spencer being surveyed at the Maplewood fruit juice taste contest.
Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William R. Spencer being surveyed at the Maplewood fruit juice taste contest.
 Next to getting your heart rate checked you could find Birchwood students who signed up attendees for their upcoming Blood Drive on April 4th.
Next to getting your heart rate checked you could find Birchwood students who signed up attendees for their upcoming Blood Drive on April 4th.
Hula Hoop for health was led by Countrywood’s finest.
Hula Hoop for health was led by Countrywood’s finest.
The Acompora’s, who founded the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation, has dedicated their mission to raising awareness among schools and other public institutions about the importance of owning automated external defibrillators (AED), a simple device that would have saved their son Louis' life.
The Acompora’s, who founded the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation, has dedicated their mission to raising awareness among schools and other public institutions about the importance of owning automated external defibrillators (AED), a simple device that would have saved their son Louis' life.
Representatives from the Suffolk County Police Department with Dr. William Spencer, Deputy Superintendent Jacqueline Harris, Superintendent Dave Bennardo, and Suffolk County Police School Resource Officer Mr. Andrew Fiorello.
Representatives from the Suffolk County Police Department with Dr. William Spencer, Deputy Superintendent Jacqueline Harris, Superintendent Dave Bennardo, and Suffolk County Police School Resource Officer Mr. Andrew Fiorello.
Nursing Students from Farmingdale State College.
Nursing Students from Farmingdale State College.
Silas Wood Administrative Dean, Dr. Christy Baralis (right) and students.
Silas Wood Administrative Dean, Dr. Christy Baralis (right) and students.
Dr. Schneider, a local pediatric Dentist is behind these imaginary puppets.
Dr. Schneider, a local pediatric Dentist is behind these imaginary puppets.
Food Service Director Mr. Charlie McTiernan (center) is proud of the quality of the food he serves as well as his employees.
Food Service Director Mr. Charlie McTiernan (center) is proud of the quality of the food he serves as well as his employees.
Walt Whitman’s SADD club members can be found throughout the community advocating for healthy decision-making.
Walt Whitman’s SADD club members can be found throughout the community advocating for healthy decision-making.
One of several poster contest winners with BOE member Lisa Brieff (left) and Deputy Superintendent Jacci Harris.
One of several poster contest winners with BOE member Lisa Brieff (left) and Deputy Superintendent Jacci Harris.

Attendees at this year’s Health and Wellness Fair, hosted by the South Huntington School District, came away smiling and with their arms full of free goodies and resources that will hopefully give them the tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle.

Besides the enlightening educational booths that let you know your blood pressure was a little high, informed you about the therapeutic benefits of a good massage, and told you about the possible cause and remedy of those seasonal sniffles, there was a booth that demonstrated one of the world’s best options for minimally invasive complex surgical procedures. The da Vinci® Surgical System, brought to the fair by North Shore LIJ Health System, is the centerpiece of a robotically assisted surgical theater that allowed fair attendees to get a true feel for what it must be like to be a surgeon using this amazing piece of robotic equipment.

The fair blended professionals in the areas of physical therapy, nursing, cancer research, sports medicine and safety, drug and alcohol counseling, psychological services, weight loss, and many more, with the energy and enthusiasm of our district’s students, who were eager to share why they are up on all the very latest in healthy living.

Stimson’s Middle School SADD Club, under the advisorship of Katie Herman and Katiana Pierre Floyd, shared information on anti-bullying and why it’s so important to make healthful decisions. Countrywood led a heart-healthy demonstration about why the hula-hoop is a fun way to stay in shape. And right next to them were the students from Oakwood, who encouraged attendees to participate in heart-healthy games.  Oakwood students introduced their new Wii active entertainment system that they use in conjunction with their physical education classes. The Wii System was recently donated to Oakwood by SHEF. Silas Wood premiered a fun “Eat This, Not That” exhibit that gave tasty as well as healthy alternatives to many of our overly processed foods.

Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William R. Spencer lent his professional advice at a fruit juice taste-off sponsored by Maplewood Intermediate School, as well as a photo op at “Shed the Meds” and Operation Medicine Cabinet, sponsored by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and the Suffolk County Police Department, respectively. In preparation for the Birchwood’s Annual Blood Drive on April 4th, Student Council advisors, Penny Katehis and Janine D'Elia, along with student council members, set up an informational table for donors to sign up for their Blood Drive.

Walt Whitman students in the SADD Club advocated for making healthy decisions, especially behind the wheel, and the Red Cross Club brought the world measles epidemic to the forefront, offering participants the opportunity to help remote villages around the word get vaccinated against this common disease, which still kills more than 450 children each day.

The district-wide poster contest yielded excellent results, and proud winners at each grade level stepped up to receive their acknowledgements. Back by popular demand was Dr. Schneider, a locally renowned puppeteer and pediatric dentist who delighted our littlest audience members as he informed them about the importance of clean teeth. St. Francis’s community health mobile was in the district, providing free health screenings and helpful information about easy ways to both lower cholesterol and heart rate.

The Food Services Department gave parents a picture-perfect display of all the healthy foods that are offered to the district’s students. Food Services also offered their own taste contest between two new lunch entries with the winner to be added to the menu. Which will win, beef Bolognese or pasta primavera?

This year’s Health and Wellness Fair would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the district’s Health and Wellness Committee, and Marian Raspantini, Jane Samuels, and Charlie McTiernan.  A very special thanks to all the vendors, and to the North Shore LIJ Hospital System for sending staff members, doctors, and the da Vinci® Surgical Equipment for students and guests to explore.

See you all next year, healthy and ready to learn and explore why it’s never too early or too late to be in charge of a healthy life and healthy body.