The third annual health fair at Reynoldsburg (HS)2 Academy featured everything from "slow foods" and preparing healthy meals to meditation, yoga, CPR and information about medical and military careers.
Students, parents and community members flocked to the field house on the high school's Livingston Avenue campus Feb. 28, where they could stop at more than 30 tables to see student projects about healthy lifestyles and medical innovations or talk to representatives from local agencies such as the Ohio National Guard, YMCA of Central Ohio or the Fairfield Career & Technical Center.
"I brought my students to an inclusion class with (art teacher) Kellie Gedert, and I know the students worked really hard on their projects for the fair," intervention specialist Tim Smith said. "It is so awesome to see them take this event and make it a meaningful experience for themselves."
Gedert has organized the event for the past two years.
RHS juniors Lindsey Long, Julia Bazley and Alejandra Zamora manned the "heart" table, one of many that showcased the academy's "Bodies" program.
"The Bodies classes let students explore different options in the medical field," Bazley said. "We learn about the body by building anatomically correct models of the human body."
"We show people different parts of the heart and how to use a stethoscope to listen to their own heart beating," Zamora said.
Halle Pennycuff and Kai Flores, both juniors at the academy, handed out samples of roasted carrot and ginger soup topped with fresh chives, at the "Slow Foods" table.
Pennycuff said she is a member of the Slow Foods Club.
"We grow vegetables, herbs and flowers in an atrium area outside the school," she said. "We've also been growing herbs and tomatoes all winter long in pots in front of the library windows.
"We want everyone to know that the food you grow yourself is better than a lot of the food you can buy," she said.
Teacher Trevor Horn said the Slow Foods Club is based on the "slow food movement" begun in Italy in the late 1970s.
"At the time, developers were trying to put a McDonald's restaurant in a small town in Italy, but the local people protested by cooking penne pasta and sauce made from home-grown vegetables and giving it out to the crowd gathered to support the restaurant," he said.
He said the club emphasizes "good, clean food and farming best practices."
"There is now a Slow Foods USA," he said. "We want kids to know where their food comes from."
He said members of the club will plant raised beds this spring. Students want to work with the cafeteria staff to "provide healthy alternatives" for lunches, Horn said.
Ohio National Guard Pvt. Jenna Sanford, along with Sgt. Desiree Lane, talked to students about joining that military branch.
"We are happy to support the community health fair and to offer information about the benefits of the National Guard," Lane said.
Former City Councilman Cornelius McGrady also manned a booth with members of the Reynoldsburg Youth Human Trafficking Coalition.
"We are doing a survey about what people know about human trafficking," he said.
Local Bibibop restaurant representatives Cesar Ruis and Rachel Newbury served hot food at the health fair.
"Our food is all made from scratch and healthy," Newbury said.
"We were hoping to teach more kids that eating healthy does not have to be boring or bland."
Officers Tony Hines and Damon Faraone talked to students checking out the Reynoldsburg Division of Police table.
"It's awesome to be a part of this event," said Faraone, the school resource officer at (HS)2 Academy. "I know how hard the kids worked on it."
He said the police department is always seeking ways to form more and better relationships with Reynoldsburg students.