A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Health class can help students along the way

Here at Littleton High School one of the main graduation requirements for students is a health class whether it is online or during school hours. This is a junior level class according to staff, even though select sophomores take it too. I think, along with many other students, that health class should be taught as a freshman class to be able to prepare students for the years ahead.

“In health, we cover the three areas of the health triangle which include, physical, mental, and social health…All of those combine together to affect your overall health,” said PE teacher Jill Fitzpatrick.

In this class/online course, many extremely important topics are taught to students. These topics are extremely important to different aspects of life, that could be helpful in dealing with different issues high schoolers experience daily.

One of the main topics covered in health class is the mental health of students. This unit covers suicide, fighting the mental health stigma, stress and dealing with it, and overall mental health wellness. In my opinion, this information and these topics could be extremely useful to many teens in need of help or support in their personal lives.

This unit also thoroughly explores how to properly diagnose and manage stress through students’ high school lives and their lives after that. This knowledge is extremely useful to many people after taking this class and educates them on ways to better manage stress levels. Looking back personally on going into high school my sophomore and freshman year, it was all a struggle to help maintain my mental health and try not to stress over school. I think knowing this information sooner would have helped me in the long run.

This class also addresses suicide prevention and help. Many students struggle with this issue around them and even in their personal lives. Bringing awareness to this situation as soon as possible is a very useful prevention technique that could help someone who is struggling. This also helps students recognize the signs when their peers and fellow students struggle as well.

Starting high school can be an extremely stressful and difficult time for many students, which is why I think that having LHS’ health class freshman year would be extremely beneficial. I also think that in addition to affecting the mental health of students, high school also affects our physical health.

As students, we tend to eat worse than we should because we have access to lots of tempting junk food. We also start to work, which means actually having money to spend.

Many students nationwide don’t give their nutrition a second thought because they are too preoccupied with school and other activities. This topic of nutrition and its importance is covered for a lengthy period in health class, to get students aware of its impact on their lives.

Learning about all of the facts of nutrition can greatly help aspects of a student’s life which are important during all four years of high school, not just the last two.

One of the most important things that are taught in this class is the facts on drug and alcohol usage. During high school whether we like it or not, there will be peer pressure dealing with drugs and alcohol. This topic should be brought to the attention of students sooner, for them to be able to handle those situations accurately and safely through all four years of high school.

Another topic that is extremely important to the safety and well-being of students is sex education. As teenagers, it is important to know all the information taught in sex education. It is also important for them to know this BEFORE they become sexually active.

Some teens do practice abstinence but the reality is that many students’ first sexual encounter will be in high school, and possibly before junior year when this class is taught. This takes away a huge part of the reason behind teaching sex education.

“I think it is very important for students to learn about these topics. I think this class is valuable to students because it affects their lives right now,” said Fitzpatrick.

Many important things that a high schooler experiences are talked about and taught in this health class or online course. All of these topics teach kids how to be safe in all aspects of their life physical, mental, and social. I think that learning this information when it can really be of use to students can help prevent serious issues that students face throughout their four years of high school.