How to help your child make friends at secondary school

High-schoolers keep busy, miss friends

St. Anthony freshman Margaret Monteleone takes a photo of a sunset from her home. Photography is one of the many art hobbies she’s been abiding by state and county orders to stay at home. — Photo courtesy of Margaret Monteleone

EDITOR’S NOTE. Personal Stories Behind The Pandemic is a feature The Maui News will run periodically about how people, groups and organizations are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This installment deals with high schoolers, who are out of school. If you would like to share a personal story, email citydesk@mauinews.com with your story and contact information.

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Word rapidly was moving across the state in mid-March about the possibility of shutting down schools for an extended spring break to combat the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Freshmen just were getting into the high school groove and seniors were on their way to graduation when the coronavirus quickly halted all classes, sports and other school-related activities.

Spring break originally was scheduled to run from March 16 to 20 for most schools. The state Department of Education later announced that the break would be extended by one week through March 27. Resumption of school was moved to April 6, then to at least April 30.

Seabury sophomore Kaylee Volner sits in on an online class through Google Meets earlier this week. — Photo courtesy of Kaylee Volner

Private schools also kept students away from campus, some turning to virtual and online learning

So, what are the thousands of Maui teens up to with the stay-at-home order and being out of school?  

Some students reported that they were surfing, working out, playing video games, watching Netflix and starting online classes. Others were spending extra time with their families, starting new hobbies and just practicing social distancing guidelines.

Healthy Huskies: Taking care of your mental health as a freshman

In this week’s Healthy Huskies, author Abigail Bonilla gives advice to freshmen to make sure to prioritize their mental health as newcomers to college. Illustration by Rachel Zimmerman/The Daily Campus

When you are an incoming freshman, navigating your mental health can be difficult. As you make the transition from high school to college, taking care of yourself and your mental wellbeing is an especially important task. College is an incredibly stressful experience. With classes, exams and your social life, it is easy to get caught up in the stress of it all. However, there are steps you can take to help yourself. Below are some tips on how best to care for your own mental health as a freshman at UConn.  Utilize Student Health and Wellness  

 As a new student at UConn, it can be hard to figure out all the resources available to you as a student. Navigating the health system is hard as is, but as a new student at college, it can be extremely difficult. As a freshman, it is extremely important to learn what resources are available. Student Health and Wellness has a plethora of resources anyone can use. Visit the SHAW website or office to set up an appointment with a therapist or mental health counselor, dietitian or to get connected to mental health and recovery resources on campus.  Attending Social Events  

As a freshman, it is incredibly easy to quickly become overwhelmed and isolated on campus. If you do not put yourself out there, you may end up spending more time alone than what is healthy. Luckily, UConn has many social events and activities for you to take part in and to meet people! Check out the Late Night events every weekend and check out UContact to join one of UConn’s many clubs!  

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With a new school year comes the unknown: What will it be like, and will I fit in?

“Starting a new school year can stir up an array of emotions in young people,” says Yvonne Kekeliadis, creator of Brightstarz, an organisation which runs workshops to help teens and tweens learn life skills.

“The prospect of academic and social pressures, whilst exciting for some, can leave others feeling dread and trepidation as the summer holidays draw to a close.”

She says building up a social safety net of peers in whom they can confide is a critical part of ensuring young people feel supported – and enjoy their time in secondary school.

This is particularly important for children making the leap from primary school to secondary, says Kekeliadis. “Therefore, it’s imperative young people are equipped with the skills and support to be able to foster healthy, positive friendships.”

Principal at Impington Village College, a high-ranking state school, Victoria Hearn says: “The transition to the next stage of their education can be an exciting time for students, but for some, the change of routine, environment, and teachers, coupled with the loss of some of their established network of friends, can be daunting.”

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