The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

Lion Zen Day

Ryan Lieberfarb (11), Austin Schneider (11), and Wesley Tindel (11) partake in the Zen festivities

PTO Hosts First Lions Zen Day

Many high schoolers struggle with mental health management and have a difficult time talking about it. Recognition of this topic is just as important as the topic itself. Students should feel comfortable talking about how they feel mentally with their workload, academic pressure, and social environment. To help address this issue, the Olympic Heights Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) held its inaugural “Lion Zen Day” on October 10 in recognition of Global Mental Health Day to elevate the importance of mental health among high school students. The annual day of wellness was held during lunch where students were able to visit with community wellness partners who set up tables around the breezeways for students to learn more about resources to help manage stress and life events. This day was a reminder for students to take care of themselves as well as their mental health. 

Therapy Dogs

One of the most popular engagement activities at the event was therapy dogs. The OH PTO arranged for several therapy dogs to be on campus during the Zen Day and they brought lots of joy to students. Interactions with therapy dogs serve many purposes and can improve mental health. They elevate human moods and provide a sense of relaxation. Therapy dogs are known to decrease anxiety, lower symptoms of depression, and provide support. The anxiety of a high school student is through the roof these days especially since classes have only gotten more challenging. Expectations are set higher to prepare students for the competitive college selection process. Serotonin is released and oxytocin as well when humans interact with these dogs. Therapy dogs are exceptionally well trained and know how to behave around a large group of excited kids. Students on Zen Day who had the opportunity to interact with one of these therapy animals were reminded of what an uplifted mood felt like in a school setting. Something so small, such as petting a dog at school, may have made a student’s day.

OH students showing some puppy love


Affirmation Wall

An affirmation wall was displayed in a school hallway as an interactive activity. Students had the opportunity to write a positive message or take a pre-written one. Messages such as “You are doing great” and “You inspire me” were written on sticky notes. If a student was having a bad day, they were able to take one off the wall and remember the message whenever they needed it. Because so many students struggle with academics and meeting expectations, these words of affirmation were reminders to take a breath and remember how important and loved you are. Affirmations are a great way to shift an individual’s mental perspectives.

OH students write down positive affirmations to create a peaceful atmosphere on campus


Sweet Treats

Sweet treats were also given out at different booths. Many booths at the event provided some sort of mental health support service. These treats were a great way to grab students’ attention before providing them with information about their services. There were treats such as boba drinks, candy, and plenty of other goodies passed out. These treats served as a reminder that students deserve rewards and motivation for their hard work. Treating yourself occasionally is a positive form of reinforcement of one’s mental health as a reminder that you have a purpose.

OH’s fabulous PTO shares sweet treats




View Comments (2)
More to Discover

Comments (2)

All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    Ayleen GalantiniNov 6, 2023 at 11:44 am

    I think what Olympic did is wonderful because many students struggle with mental health and this day gave students a warm feeling and made them feel important.

  • J

    Jacob YaciukOct 24, 2023 at 11:27 am

    This story is great!