By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Students and teachers at Leonard Elementary school found some special treats March 17 – and no, they weren’t from a leprechaun.
“The past year has been a rough one, but it has been especially rough on students and staff in our schools. Our staff has been asked to do the impossible and have risen to the occasion,” said Melissa Rainwater-Rhodes, a special education teacher consultant for Oxford elementary schools.
Recognizing everyone needed a boost, Rainwater-Rhodes started “Wellness Wednesdays” to promote mental health awareness. The project fulfills requirements for her internship at Leonard Elementary, as she works toward her K-12 administration degree.
The project gives staff and students “ideas for self-care and just a bit of change of routine doing activities that promote self-care.”
For the March 17 Wellness Wednesday, students were surprised with bags of popcorn during their afternoon classes. And every student took home a goodie bag with a mini set of crayons, coloring pages and a stress ball from Oxford bank, a coupon for Funky Monkey Toys, and a bookmark to color from Addison Township Library.
“This is the best day ever!” said a first grader named Finn.
Teachers found their own treats in the teacher’s lounge, provided by 5-1 Diner. The teachers’ gift bag was courtesy of Apothecary & Co. in Oxford and UR Priceless Tea and Spice Company in Lake Orion.
“It is because of the hard work of each and every one of the staff members that we are here today and our parents and students truly appreciate that,” Rainwater-Rhodes said to the teachers. “Today is a day to take a few moments for self-care for you and our students, to find those things you enjoy and enjoy them if only for a few minutes of your day. I hope that some of the things I have put in place for today with help with that.”