The second annual Reynoldsburg (HS)2 STEM Academy Health Fair on March 2 had a little something for everyone, from healthy cooking and stroke-prevention to mental counseling and immunizations.
As people browsed booths on the East Livingston high school campus, they had a chance to learn about a number of local resources, including Local Matters, Southeast Counseling, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Center for Balanced Living, KidSMILES Pediatric Dental Clinic, the Mount Carmel Health Stroke Program and the Reynoldsburg Police Department.
Art teacher and coordinator Kellie Gedert said the goal of the annual event is to promote the health sciences and human services that are part of the academy's title.
"We are a STEM school, concentrating on health and human services, so our No. 1 goal is to introduce students to people in the medical fields," she said. "Many of our students are interested in medical careers and we also want to deepen their exposure to a variety of local resources."
She said the event was also a chance to showcase student classes at (HS)2.
A large crowd gathered around Shruti Patel from Local Matters, as she cooked a vegetarian pasta dish.
"I think most people are enthusiastic about food and pasta," she said, adding more herbs and seasoning to a steaming skillet meal. "We go all over the city and do nutrition classes."
At the Reynoldsburg Police Department table, officers Tony Hines and Donald Travis talked with high school students about police department resources and preventing drug abuse.
"We want to interact with the community as much as possible at events like these," Hines said. "It's great talking to the kids and we really want to spread the word about the opioid epidemic.
"We tell them and parents how to spot someone who is using," he said. "Everything we can do to keep kids safe is important."
Janie Wheeler, a registered nurse for Mount Carmel Health System, said it is important for even young students to learn about preventing strokes.
"We have a very robust outreach program and have conducted classes at Reynoldsburg's Hannah Ashton Middle School," she said. "When students learn the signs and symptoms of a stroke, they might be able to help family members and other adults they encounter."
She said students wear weights on their arms and do jumping jacks, then have to try to pick up items. They also wear special glasses that obscure their vision, then try to read. Students are also asked to spin around several times, then walk through a course.
"The goal is to mimic the weakness and feeling of having a stroke so that they can recognize the symptoms in others," she said.
Another display was devoted to the academy's popular Bodies program.
Students talked about the clay mannequins they had made, which showed all the organs in the human body.
Teacher Jessica Cully said students in the Bodies classes began working on the mannequins in August and completed them just before the health fair.
"They work in pairs, with each student having to complete half of the mannequin," she said. "It helps them learn a lot about anatomy, and they document the process as they go, ending up with a large binder full of information and research."
Junior Quinaya Moore said she is interested in becoming a registered nurse and nurse practitioner.
"Making the mannequin helped me learn so much more about anatomy and I appreciated being able to go on a field trip to Mount Carmel West, so I could find out more about medical fields," she said.
Principal Dawn McCloud said the health fair helps the community learn more about what local health sources are available.
"Our main goal is to bring the community together to learn more about staying healthy," she said. "We also want to showcase our student work and what we do at our health and human services academy."