Walking through the school’s halls towards the southeast end of the building, a dull hum grows into a vibrant buzz, percolating with shouts of excitement and calls to friends. Through the corridors and into the school’s Field House, the buzz becomes a warble of enthusiasm and alacrity as students, siblings, teachers, and parents bustle to and from various tables, examining brochures, models, and interactive devices. Student projects tower on some tables, while other tables host local health-related businesses and organizations.
This was the scene at this Spring’s 2nd Annual Health Fair at Reynoldsburg’s Health Sciences and Human Services Academy, also known as (HS)2. The school’s signature event launched the previous year, successfully welcoming over 200 attendees including a barrage of local businesses and organizations like the Mount Carmel Health System, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This year, the Health Fair grew, drawing over 350 attendees including students, family members, teachers, and local community members. “Next year, our goal is to really push out the event into the community, so even more people not normally connected to the school know about it,” reflected (HS)2 principal Dawn McCloud.
Engaging Community Partners
Community partners who hosted tables this year included some previous year attendees such as the Vineyard Community Church’s Pregnancy Center, the local BibiBop, and the Reynoldsburg Police Department. New partners Crunch Fitness, the Center for Balanced Living, and Local Matters also participated due to the outreach efforts of teacher Kellie Gedert and her team. Online spreadsheets shared between the staff helped coordinate participating partners, and catalogue contact information for future events.
Students speak with representatives from the Reynoldsburg YMCA.
Source: The PAST Foundation
“We helped a fair amount last year in reaching out to local places, and setting up shared digital spreadsheets for infrastructure…but this year, Kellie and her team really executed 100% of the organization and outreach,” noted a PAST team member who has worked closely with the school. “Their ownership makes the event truly sustainable—which is always the goal!”
Boosting School Culture and Academics
In addition to providing students with exposure to partners and opportunities in the community, the Health Fair has proved to be a strong, culture- enhancing event for the school. “We want people to know what (HS)2 stands for—that we focus on both health sciences and human services,” said McCloud. By continuing the Health Fair as one of (HS)2’s signature events, the school hopes to continue to build its reputation within the community as a school that provides pipelines into health and human services-related career fields.
The Bodies table (pictured below), featured student products created as part of an in-depth anatomy project, and garnered a lot of attention. “There were many students who would visit the table and want to see how many of the bones or organs they knew… we had both a male and a female pelvis, and visitors needed to determine which one was which,” recounted Jessica Cully, Bodies and science teacher at the school. One table also featured a Blind Spot Eye Test for participants to identify the location of their blind spot in their vision.
Attendees check out the Bodies table hosted by students from the Bodies class.
Source: Jessica Cully, (HS)2 teacher
This year, to improve the flow of attendee traffic, tables were set up in square groups instead of long rows, like last year.
Source: Jessica Cully, (HS)² teacher
Extra credit punch cards were also provided to students. “The vendors loved [the punch cards], because they encouraged additional interaction from the students…and almost every teacher participated,” reflected a teacher on the event’s planning team.
Plans for next year include closely tracking event attendance numbers, creating a planning committee that includes students as well as teachers, and marketing the event to foster further outreach into the community and build community connections.
To learn more about (HS)² Academy, check out: http://www.reyn.org/hs2_home.aspx