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est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

WellSpace to Occupy Renovated Room 200

Space will be an oasis for students to ‘get ahead’ of their anxieties.
Ellen Kim
Nancy Bakunas, administrative assistant, and Diane Kaline, librarian assemble a table for room 200, which is currently being renovated into a WellSpace room. The room will provide sanctuary for students, and potentially staff, who are experiencing high stress and anxiety.

In collaboration with the WellSpace initiative by Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE), BOHS is currently renovating room 200 into a wellness space for students.

The WellSpace, projected to be completed by Feb. 27, is located in the upper west wing and adjacent to the library. The room, which previously served as a meeting space for BOUSD personnel and student detention, is a space for students to decompress when feeling anxious during school hours. 

Adorning the room will be comfortable seating, plants, art supplies, yoga pads, and other tools to diminish the occupant’s anxiety. 

“Usually at school, what I found is that kids will maintain themselves all day, and they get home and they are just so tired from trying not to stress or be anxious,” Cecilia Story, assistant principal, said. Students who experience anxiety at school will be able to use the room to “get ahead of [the anxiety], and recognize those triggers.”

A 2019-2020 California Healthy Kids Survey, revealed that “25% percent of Orange County’s seventh-graders, and about 35 percent of 11th-graders” experienced chronic sadness or “feelings of hopelessness” versus the prior, and “more than 10 percent reported having suicidal thoughts.”

Wellness rooms have also led to student academic success by affording students space and time to “regulate emotions and stress” before returning to the classroom.

Our big hope is it provides a central place for our students to come and practice calming techniques, or just having a moment of mindfulness to help them with their day, with their work, with their relationships.

— Jennifer Cormier, guidance counselor

“Our big hope is it provides a central place for our students to come and practice calming techniques, or just having a moment of mindfulness to help them with their day, with their work, with their relationships,” Jennifer Cormier, guidance counselor, said. 

While some protocols and regulations — such as maximum occupancy and availability to BOHS staff — are yet to be determined, others are ready to be implemented. Upon notifying a teacher or staff member, students will be permitted to access the room in 15-minute increments. Students will access the room with a QR code check-in and check-out system on an iPad in the room. 

The addition of the room was initiated by Story, who connected with OCDE to join a waitlist for WellSpace funds from CHOC. Aside from the vinyl hard wood flooring and painted walls — expenses paid by BOUSD — all furniture, lighting, plants, technology, and activities in the WellSpace are funded by OCDE and CHOC.

CHOC’s mission, according to Dr. Michael Weiss, vice president of population health for CHOC: “Our big, audacious goal is that we want Orange County to be the healthiest county in America. That health is defined not just by physical health, but including mental health, and I think that over the course of the upcoming years, we would love to see a WellSpace of some kind in every school in Orange County.”

Keyauna Thomas, social worker, will initially staff the room. She anticipates the WellSpace to be a versatile resource available to everyone on campus, as both a “calm-down center” and meeting space. 

On Feb. 21, OCDE will visit the BOHS campus for the “first day of installation” of the WellSpace room, according to Story. Final installation will occur on Feb. 27, with a proposed ribbon-cutting ceremony to follow.

“The addition of a wellness room is something that can make such an impact on students and the school facility — to be proactive instead of reactive to mentally recharge,” Story said.



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About the Contributors
Jenna Howell-Serna, Staff Writer
Ellen Kim, Editor-in-Chief
Ellen Kim, senior, has been a member of the newspaper staff since her freshman year and is excited to lead the staff as Editor-in-Chief. Alongside her leadership in the Wildcat, Ellen is involved in ASB as Senior Class President and can be spotted in many clubs and organizations across campus including HOSA, Mubotics, Orchestra, and FTOC. Outside of school, Ellen can be found practicing taekwondo, listening to her favorite pop tunes, or playing a competitive round of Uno. Ellen has published over 35 pieces for the Wildcat and is thrilled to create lots more during her final year at BOHS.
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