One of the top high schools in New York City has shown that it cares about its students’ physical and mental health just as much as their academic success.
The International Leadership Charter High School (ILCHS), located at 2900 Exterior Street, hosted its inaugural Student Health Fair on Wednesday, November 12 to increase and promote health awareness amongst its students.
Focusing primarily on college fairs, ILCHS held it’s first ever health fair to tackle issues that are most common among high school students in the Bronx.
Health practitioners and educators increased the students’ awareness of these health issues by holding various activities, distributing materials and demonstrations.
The school was recently ranked in the top 1% of high schools in NYC, along with being the recipient of the 2013 and 2014 bronze awards from U.S. News and World Report as the one of the best high schools in the country, graduating between 95% - 97% of its students annually.
By hosting this health fair ILCHS proves that they are highly dedicated to helping their students live a healthy lifestyle, which they believe should result in greater academic achievements.
Common health issues relating to Bronx high school students included asthma, diabetes, nutrition and mental health.
“This health fair was very relevant for our students and their communities,” said special projects manager Nick Cox. “The act of spreading this awareness helped those in attendance become more educated on particular issues, and will hopefully change their lives for the better.”
The Student Health Fair also aimed to create awareness of local, state and national health service and resource options for their students, at an event which welcomed nine of these health-based organizations including Montefiore Medical Center, Child Mind Institute, The Alison Gertz Foundation, Revolution Foods, South Bronx Asthma Partnership, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, Bronx Community Health Network, Urban Health Plan, Inc. and Centers for Disease Control.
According to the Dr. Elaine Ruiz Lopez, the CEO and founder of ILCHS, the importance of spreading this awareness to her students cannot be overstated, and will be the key to long-term success in their lives, not just in high school and college.
“International Leadership Charter School recognizes how important good physical and mental health is for students to learn and thrive,” said Dr. Lopez, who has been the school since 2006.
“Since the health of young people is strongly linked to their academic success, our school cannot achieve our primary mission of preparing our students for the demands of higher education, but also for leading lives of meaning, if our students are not in their best health.”
For high school students, having the awareness of these health issues may be the difference between being named to the honor role or repeating a grade. Without this awareness or knowledge, high school students have the potential to be consistently distracted in an academic setting because of these health issues.
“We are confident that this health fair motivated our students to look after their health and access health services, which will help them to keep achieving at school,” said Dr. Lopez.
A brand new, larger school facility is currently being built to house ILCHS. The new building, which will include an Adolescent Health Clinic, a library/media center and two science labs, is expected to open in fall 2015.