Second annual Panther WellFest educates students on how to have healthy lifestyle

The event served to educate students how to eat healthy, manage stress and find fun in exercising.

Kirkland Middle School recently hosted its second annual Panther WellFest. The event served to educate students how to eat healthy, manage stress and find fun in exercising.

The school joined with parents and local businesses including PCC, Healthy Bonez, Theo Chocolate, Bassline Fitness and Costco. There was a DJ as well as the Lake Washington High School dance and drill team.

Each sponsor had its own station, and there were learning stations where students could “learn by doing.”

The learning stations allowed students to experience exercise, nutrition and mindfulness through interactive tools and exercises. For nutrition, there was a “mystery food” learning station where students had to guess food items in a bag based upon their nutrients and uses.

“For avocado, we would have, ‘I have a pit,’ ‘I contain a lot of healthy cholesterol,’ and ‘I am often used in burritos and tacos,’” chair of the PTSA’s Wellness Committee, Janis Rabuchin, said.

Students experienced mindfulness through the Chillout Zone, which guided students through a three minute meditation using the Mindfulness program.

“It’s a short mediation that teaches the kids breathing techniques, allows them to identify their feelings and to just be present,” PTSA volunteer, Marcela Arboleda, said. “It’s a great way for them to relax before taking exams.”

Arboleda said she hopes this program will be in every school.

Students learned how exercise can be fun through hula hooping, jump roping, bicycling and planking.

Ava Rogers, a KiMS sixth grader, completed a five minute plank for Bassline Fitness’s Amanda Fox. Rogers held the record for the longest plank among her peers.

“It’s really fun. It wasn’t very hard,” Rogers said.

Fox said that she enjoys being a sponsor for WellFest.

“It’s really great to see the kids really engaged,” she said.

Rabuchin said this year’s event was more successful than last year.

“There were more kids and more sponsors. It’s really great. We had a great diverse group of sponsors and activities for the kids,” she said.

Panther WellFest also held a raffle with a prizes that included a one-month membership at Columbia Athletic Club, paddleboard rental for two, cooking class at Frog Legs for two, Mandala coloring books and more.

“We are looking forward to doing this again next year so our students can continue to gain more confidence and knowledge about wellness topics that interest them,” Rabuchin said.

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