SEL Day 2021


Photo Credit: Michelle Giurlando

Glen Rock students enjoyed some well-earned relaxation with the petting dogs in the Wellness Center.

by Naomi Bashan, Social Media Manager

SEL (Social Emotional Learning) day came right after the most demanding time for students: the infamous week before winter vacation. With plenty of essays, exams, and project due dates looming, everyone was in need of a break. SEL day was like our fairy godmother, granting every students’ wish for a breather. Held on Dec. 21, the day was made up of activities organized by GRHS teachers, ranging from journaling to equestrian therapy, with mental health workshops led by Robin in between. Robin is a program that teaches educators and students stress and anxiety management, bringing in mental health coaches focused on tackling prominent issues faced by adolescents, such as body image, resilience, and self-love.

Last year’s SEL day was the inaugural journey of social emotional learning at Glen Rock. Organized virtually, students logged onto Zoom sessions from the comfort of their own homes. This year was different, with SEL day taking place within the walls of the school, giving students back their voices. Instead of sitting in front of a screen, students were given the opportunity to connect with one another while accumulating a myriad of new experiences.
Junior Yethmie Goonatilleke commented, “It was a nice experience to finally get a break away from school. Like, the academic stuff. I feel like I learned about the importance of that. To take a mental health break from time to time.”

But just how effective is social emotional learning? According to the State of New Jersey’s Department of Education, students in SEL programs are better set for success: getting better grades and having overall better school attendance. This information characterizes a new generation that approaches mental health as an open discussion, and helps alleviate stigma. SEL day is a sign of GRHS getting with the times and acknowledging the link between enhanced mental wellness and better academic performance. Hosting our second annual SEL day, GRHS is on the right track!
“I think it was a great day to clear your mind especially because around that week I

had a lot of tests and projects. All my teachers were trying to cram everything in before break,” noted sophomore Aarav Kochar.

Although this year was a step in the right direction, there’s always room for improvement. For some students, SEL workshops were a little too crowded. In a large group of people, it’s hard to make sure everyone gets a chance to participate. In addition, the day felt a little long. For some students, seven hours straight of school felt counterproductive to their social emotional wellness.
Sophomore Olivia Berard mentioned, “I learned some things. I did get to listen to some people I never thought I would relate to. But I do think it left something to be desired. Maybe next year will be different.”