Dennis Township seventh and eighth grade students recently participated in the annual school health fair.
Organized by health teacher Alex Petrella and physical education teachers Lauren Lillie and Lance Hammell, the fair brought together presenters from the community to address relevant health issues, interests and needs for the students.
Presenters included students in the nursing and dental assistant programs from Cape May County Technical High School, Belleplain EMS, Millennium Respiratory, Miracles Fitness, the New Jersey State Police and more.
With twenty stations to attend throughout the day, students learned about everything from proper nutrition to how an ambulance team works to the dangers of driving and texting.
In one station, New Jersey State Police School Resource Officers Phil Curry and Dianna Wamsher had students don goggles to simulate the effect of alcohol intoxication and maneuver through a serpentine of cones on a scooter.
A similar station run by Cape May County Technical High School nursing program students had the middle schoolers wearing similar glasses and attempting to walk a straight line or catch a ball.
Representatives from the Brigantine Rowing Club set up a room full of rowing machines for some brisk exercise while in another room former health teacher Carol Pittaluga taught students the basics of meditation and seated yoga.
"Our goal in holding this health fair each year is to try to expose our students to a variety of health related topics in a fun way," explains Petrella.
He says that learning about a topic in the classroom is useful, but it can have a much greater impact to have an outside expert present the information, especially with props.
Lillie thinks students often get more out of the experience when the students have fun or participate in an activity as they are learning.
"This is one of the reasons I love events like the health fair, but I get to teach like this every day," she laughs.