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Student services provide emotional stability for teens


High school is infamously known for testing and pushing students’ educational and emotional abilities, often times causing considerable amount of stress. For that reason, Carmel High offers its students numerous services in order to cope, deal and learn to manage it.

“I’m here for any student issues,” support counselor Lauren Capano says. “It doesn’t have to be a crisis situation. A student doesn’t have to show emotional distress, but I deal with that as well. I can offer therapeutic support when a student is dealing with problems at home, with family, with friends, with relationships and dealing with stress.”

Capano specializes in support for students and is a great tool to utilize, yet may often be unknown to students.

“I don’t think students take advantage of our counselling services,” sophomore Ananda Sudol says. “It’s such a good coping mechanism, and Ms. Capano is great! I talk to her a couple times a month, and it’s really nice to know that she’s there whenever I need her to listen and to give thoughtful feedback.”

The counselor’s office has a confidentiality policy in order to provide the safest environment possible.

CHS also offers academic counselors and creates a community of staff more than willing to talk and try to manage a situation at hand.

“If a student is dealing with huge issues, stress or family or whatever it is, they’re not going to learn anything,” science teacher Joseph Mello says. “We had a whole group of teachers get together and ask the question of ‘How do we improve student learning?’ Our big takeaway was if kids are struggling with things bigger than stoichiometry, for example, then they can’t do stoichiometry. You have to take care of yourself first, and understanding that is one of the most important parts of my job.”

History teacher Jillayne Ange recently renovated her classroom by adding “flexible seating.” To Ange, “flexible seating” means the addition of beanbags, pillows, comfortable chairs and floor seating to her classroom.

“I got a stand-up table and wiggly, purple chairs last year so that students wouldn’t have to be sitting in desks for 50 minutes. This year I added beanbags, a coffee table, rugs and pillows,” Ange says. “I have noticed that in most class periods students are more eager to be in here because they are more relaxed and comfortable.”

The teacher wanted a classroom style which allowed students to learn comfortably in order to potentially increase their level of focus. 

“I struggle in some of my classes which causes me to get stressed out,” junior Cole Brushert says. “I like to go to Ms. Ange during lunch just to have a place where I can relax and get work done.”

Ange isn’t the only teacher at Carmel High to make a noticeable effort to lessen stress and promote mental health. Social studies teacher Bill Schrier has teens discuss their socioemotional states in a group by holding “check-ins” for his students, a tradition he has upheld for several years. Schrier takes time out of his teaching to ensure that his students are doing well emotionally. During a “check-in,” students arrange themselves into a circle and are encouraged to be open and honest. Each person is given the opportunity to talk about anything, achievements or downfalls.

In regards to the improvement of stress levels and emotional health of students, sophomore Olivia Randazzo suggested a “chill-out space,” described as a room designated for taking breaks from the stress of school and life.

“It would be like a safe space for all students to enjoy,” explains Randazzo. “It’s the one thing we are lacking. Other schools have it, so why can’t we? It’s so hard to escape the stress when at school so I think a designated space would do the trick.”

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