IBW kicks off its first Wellness Day


Zoe Toperosky (she/her), Editor and Wirter

The smell of pancakes and friendly faces greeted students on Thursday morning as Ida B. Wells kicked off its first Wellness Day. 

From pancakes and ice cream to baby goats invading the courtyard, Wellness Day is a way to bring joy back to school and relieve some of the end of the school year stress. 

With the 2022-23 school year rapidly coming to an end, it can be a stressful time of the year. Coming to school, especially for upperclassmen, can become a daunting task. By taking this time to provide a fun school environment, the hope is to create a change of pace and enjoyable school day. 

IBW’s Social Worker, Britni Locke, along with a few leadership students, put together this day as a sort of test run for more events like this in the coming years. “We’re using this to like test the waters, to see what students like and didn’t like and then just go from there,” Locke said. 

Last school year, the Portland Public Schools District introduced its first Social Emotional Learning Day, which acted as a day for schools to give students and staff a break from the normal, everyday stress of school. Coming off of that, other schools in PPS have adopted days similar and given students the chance to take a breath and relax. Now, IBW joins in on this idea. 

“The intention is to bring some joy and light-heartedness to school, especially as we’re wrapping up, with finals coming up, and the seniors’ last day is soon,” Locke said. “I think things can feel like a lot of pressure at the end of the year, and a lot of anxiety and so just bringing some joy back into school.”  

The day started with a pancake breakfast in which staff members, such as Jeremy Shetler, were making pancakes for students in front of the school.

Then, at 12:30 Portland Goat Parties joined in on the fun and brought baby goats to the courtyard. Seventh and eighth period teachers had the opportunity to sign up for time spots to bring their classes down to play with the goats. Those who were unable to go during class, or merely wanted more time with the goats, could go down during flex time.

Additionally, during the flex period there was an ice cream truck stationed outside of IBW offering a free frozen treat to all students and staff who were so inclined.

Student mental health is at a top concern for schools, the constant stress and expectations can make it hard for any student to feel like they are truly succeeding. There are many resources available for students inside the halls of IBW. People like Britni Locke and Emilee Refvem, our school social worker and school psychologist, are both people who are here to help any student who needs it. There is also a team of counselors available to help and provide support for students and connect them with extra resources: Sheila Kendall, Julie Fleming, Danny Bradach, Lauryn Files, and Malcolm Simonoff

With the school year coming to an end, taking the day to get some much needed treats and distractions was a nice way for students and staff to relax. Locke and other students hope to continue Wellness Days next year and beyond to help build our school community and climate as well as add a little bit of fun and joy into school.