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The Foothill Dragon Press

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The Foothill Dragon Press

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Petting zoos, worry stones and more: The Wellness Center holds a Health and Wellness Week preceding finals

Claire Hadley
The Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) Wellness Center hosted a wonderful petting zoo for the entire school to enjoy. Students were able to de-stress in the company of chickens, goats, ducks, guinea pigs, a potbelly pig and a turtle.

As finals approach and anxiety levels skyrocket, from Jan. 16 to Jan. 19, 2024, the Wellness Center at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) held a Health and Wellness Week. Throughout the week, the Wellness Center set up activities for students to participate in to take care of their mental health, and to learn different tips for managing stress and anxiety. These activities consisted of popping bubble wrap and painting, a petting zoo, making worry stones and bringing therapy dogs to the school.

Self care strategies are super simple and we often overlook them.

— Rebecca Wulff

On Tuesday, the first wellness activity of the week was a “Pop Your Stress” day where students had the opportunity to pop bubble wrap, de-stressing through the satisfying snaps. There were also painting supplies, with the different colors allowing students to convey any emotions they may be feeling through “Body Slam Painting” before entering finals week.

Wednesday, the second day of Wellness Week, was a petting zoo set in the quad, which proved to be a very popular stress management tactic. Rebecca Wulff, the Wellness Program counselor, explained that one of the easiest self care strategies is interacting with animals. She explained, “It can feel relaxing, it can make you laugh and those are the simple things that can destress.”

A Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) student happily holds a Guinea Pig on De-stress week. During lunchtime on Jan. 17, 2024, students swarmed the petting zoo to spend quality time with the abundance of animals. It was a great way for students to put the worries and stress of finals week aside and enjoy the moment. (Claire Hadley)

As lunch began, students crowded around the friendly animals, which consisted of bunnies, chickens, guinea pigs, goats, a pig, a duck and a tortoise. Many students enjoyed the variety of animals, taking time to hold and pet each species.

Melanie Martinez ‘27 voiced her excitement about having animals on campus, saying, “It makes me so happy, they’re so cute,” going on to explain how the petting zoo helps manage stress before big exams. “It’s like a little distraction before going into a stressful week,” Martinez claimed.

Raygan Nettles ‘25 reflected on her finals preparation, stating, “Looking back at all the study guides I have to do, I’m a little stressed,” continuing that, “Being around animals, it just brings joy to a lot of people.”

On the third day of Wellness week, Thursday, Dragons had the option to make worry stones out of clay. At the Wellness Center, students could choose three different colors of clay to mold a worry stone: a smooth stone intended to relieve anxiety by holding it against your fingers. Directions for making the crafted goods hung around the wellness center and students left their finished product to get baked, then picked up the next day.

On Friday, the last day of Wellness Week, therapy dogs could be spotted around campus at lunch to comfort students as they pet the friendly companions. Aside from the dogs, wellness activities including rock tower building, kinetic sand and coloring were put out at the back of the quad for every student’s use.

Looking back at all the study guides I have to do, I’m a little stressed.

— Raygan Nettles ’25

As dreaded finals near, stress permeates the halls of Foothill Tech. Wellness Week was intended to decrease those anxiety levels, and give students the opportunity to learn and experience self-care tips. Wulff explained the importance of wellness, saying, “Test taking can be a really great thing … but it’s also really important to take care of yourself.”

With the growing academic pressure, Wellness Week allowed students to distract themselves through relaxing activities, while emphasizing the importance of self care and wellbeing.

Sofia Patiño
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About the Contributors
Maggie Lay
Maggie Lay, Reporter
I am a junior news writer who enjoys spending time with family, baking and going to petting zoos.
Sofia Patiño
Sofia Patiño, Videographer
Second-year journalist and Frank Ocean enthusiast.
Claire Hadley
Claire Hadley, Photographer
Short girl who is addicted to the beach, chugging tea, watching "Grey's Anatomy" and manufacturing random concoctions in the kitchen.

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