AAPS: Skyline Students Receive Educational Excellence Award

By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News.

Skyline High School students are excited about a $2,500 grant that will allow an expansion of its SkyWell program, a student-led initiative aimed at improving student attitudes and actions regarding personal health and wellness.

The grant is from SET SEG Foundation, in partnership with the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB). It was awarded Monday during SkyWell’s annual Board of Directors meeting.

“SkyWell doesn’t just teach students which choices they should make, it introduces and supports wellness as a life skill,” said SET SEG Foundation Executive Director Lisa Truscott. “Our judges selected this program because they could sense the tremendous amount of pride the students involved have. In only two short years, students have already accomplished so much and they have big plans for the program’s future.”

This year, the SET SEG Foundation received hundreds of applications from Michigan schools aimed at having a positive impact on their students and communities, said Greg Peoples, a member of the MASB Board of Directors.

“MASB, along with SET SEG, for 24 years have combined efforts to promote creativity and innovation among public schools,” said Peoples, noting that SkyWell met all five criteria. “I’m so excited to be here to give this award.”

The Education Excellence Awards are in their 24th year and are produced through a partnership between the SET SEG Foundation and MASB.

The SET SEG Foundation is a branch of SET SEG and provides services, scholarships, grants and financial support directly to Michigan public schools and Michigan public school students.

“This grant allows us to expand our mission community-wide and invite other high schools to join our wellness campaigns,” says Lori Kintz, the wellness community resource adviser for SkyWell who assists with writing grant proposals and seeking community partnerships and collaboration.
This year, SkyWell focused on a campaign to improve driver safety.
Jeff Bradley, who leads Skyline’s Health and Medicine Magnet, said students expressed concern about aggressive behavior in the school parking lot and school grounds coming to and leaving school, as well as the practice of texting while driving.

“It was the students’ idea to take more ownership and responsibility for themselves and a safe environment,” he said of the DriveWell campaign funded by SkyWell.

The school’s Communications, Media, and Public Policy magnets also worked on the DriveWell campaign, which asked the community to take a pledge not to text while driving. More than 500 people signed it.

“(DriveWell) is so important because we have roundabouts right outside our school and most people don’t know how to drive in roundabouts,” says Skyline student Jack Watza, who is president of SkyWell. “This campaign taught people how to drive in roundabouts, and it made the school a safer environment. This campaign taught us teens safer driving habits.”

SkyWell member Jackson Catchot said the speed signs to be installed next month in the parking lot will answer students’ uncertainty about the speed limit there.

When the signs are installed next month, students will have no excuse not to know the limit is 15 MPH.

Since 2014, students involved in SkyWell have received the high school’s first Heart-safe School certification, collaborated with community health and wellness agencies to organize a wellness expo, had water bottle filling stations installed and organized wellness walks.

Photo and story by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News

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