Finding your ‘why’ at State of the Student

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Northwood held its fourth annual State of the Student Day on Tuesday, Nov. 6 with the goal of encouraging students to find and develop their passions while also focusing on balance in their lives.

“I think State of the Student Day is great for many students to relax a bit as they detach from their normal, hectic academic schedule and take time to take a personal inventory of themselves,” senior Sahas Poyekar said.

In conjunction with the school’s Challenge Success initiative, this year’s theme was centered around the question “What is your why?” to address the issue of student stress through self-reflection on what fuels students’ interests. Different Northwood departments took on various topics all relating to identifying students’ individual passions.

In English classes, students created a vision board of their interests, passions and goals they wish to pursue in the future. In history classes, students focused on their passions and shared them with students from other classes.

“We want to get away from the idea that it is a single day away from stress,” Vice Principal Eric Keith said. “Ideally, the point of the State of the Student day is to spend time with students to come up with ideas that they can use all year long. Our theme this year emerged from staff meetings addressing previous surveys about students’ mental health.”

The day began with a late start in Advisement, followed by third and fourth period and then an hour-long lunch. Hosted by Northwood ASB, PTSA and the local business community, State of the Student Day provided free lunch—Costco pizza, Taco Bell burritos and Wendy’s chicken nuggets with a salad—for all students and staff. The extended lunch also included activities such as a staff vs. students kickball game, live music, karaoke, water balloon toss and a photo booth.

“Through these numerous activities, I believe State of the Student is actually better than taking a day off of school,” sophomore Alex Chang said. “It allows students to interact with each other and actually stray away from academic work, whereas if they were at home, some may still worry about school.”

The day concluded with students meeting in Advisement once again to write their ultimate motivation, or their final “why,” on popsicle sticks. Teachers then collected all the sticks and pasted them to a board to be hung up at the Oak.

“One of the things we want to do moving forward is trying to get some feedback from the students as to what areas in need they think we should address,” Keith said. “There are always things we want to change. Though we thought it went pretty well thematically, we would like to hear more from the teachers and students on what they would like to see going forward and how we can make the day better for everyone.”