Healthy Living on the Island

A new Healthy Living program on the Island this year offers students ways to develop, support, and improve their physical, mental, and emotional health as well as enhance community despite the necessity of pandemic-related social distancing.

Students can sign up for classes like Marvel Lore, where Dean of Students Mike Donegan and his teaching assistant, senior Max Rosenberg, explore current events through the Marvel Universe. They tackle challenges like the concept and cost of freedom while watching Captain America and dig deep into the Black Lives Matter movement while watching Black Panther.

Or students could join Assistant Athletic Director Donnie McKillop in his fishing class, where students not only learn the basics of fishing, but also help to keep local ponds and rivers free of litter and other pollution.

The Healthy Living curriculum was designed by a group of faculty and staff with experience and expertise in areas outside of the normal academic curriculum that would benefit students mentally, physically, and socially. The classes are available to all ninth- and 10th-grade students and are term courses, lasting five weeks. Students do not receive grades in the Healthy Living classes, enabling students to discover newfound hobbies or passions without some of the demands of their graded courses.  

Courses include DJing and Music Composition with Andris Briga, where students learn to mix music and better understand the history behind hip hop: From the Couch to 5k with Assistant Athletic Director Stephanie Bissett, who helps students train for a five-kilometer (3.1-mile) run that they will run together at the end of the term. Students can also take part in swimming, dancing, yoga and meditation, gardening and sustainability, sign language, and many other courses.

“We’ve had a blast so far this fall in our Healthy Living class,” Dean Donegan said. “The beauty of the class is that my students are helping to design the curriculum, and because of it, they are having a blast. It barely feels like I am teaching.”

With the success of the program so far, the school may continue the curriculum even after the pandemic is over. Check out the complete list of Healthy Living courses here.