Showing Appreciation – Blaire Hirt
As the coordinator between two large suburban high schools, the challenge lies in balancing my efforts to meet their specific needs and drawing upon each school’s strengths. With standardized testing and stress from life circumstances, students and staff need to feel appreciated for all that they do. I have started a monthly fruit infused water day for the staff at both schools to enjoy when they pass through the mail room. For Palm Beach Lakes Community High School, Water Wednesday has been a huge success and many teachers and faculty take the recipe cards to try to make their own version at home. At Boynton Beach Community High School, the staff look forward to a fun new way to enjoy water without all the added sugar. I have received wonderful feedback and even personal messages, thanking me for the simple thought to put a spin on their experience in the mailroom. One staff member, Mrs. Nash, came to my office to personally thank me. She told me that when her husband was going through treatment, the hospital had fruit infused water when they walked in, and when she saw the water I had set out, she said “I felt like I was at home, it was a wonderful feeling”.
With the holidays approaching the need to show appreciation has become a forefront of my activities at both schools. I have been working with student leaders and some staff members at each school to plan events and activities to show them all that much needed support to everyone around us. The student leadership group, The Youth Empathizers, in the Boynton Beach Community has worked with me to create a holiday card to hand out at the high school before the holiday break. The students voted on what they card said and the design, as well as what little treat they will give out with each card.
I am honored to be able to work at both schools and meet so many wonderful teachers, students, and staff throughout my few short months. The efforts to make each school healthier is very apparent and since the schools are backing up our Healthcorps mission, my job is much easier. I have been able to meet with students regularly for mentoring; the moments I share with students are very special to me. At Palm Beach Lakes, I am listed as an option to meet with among all of the other guidance counselors. Students are able to schedule appointments with me about Nutrition, Fitness, and Mental Resilience; they can ask any questions they may have on these topics and I have been able to provide the guidance they need to become healthier.