Everyone Needs Wellness

Juliet Watstein, Editor in Chief

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Since the end of freshmen year, I have ran for Miss Wantagh and on July 4th I was crowned Miss Wantagh of 2019. When I entered my sophomore year, I was an Ambassador and junior year I placed as First Runner Up. Initially, I was in it for the crown and the glory. However, with time, my mindset changed. I learned to find a passion with dedicating my time to being involved within my community.

For those who are unaware upon what the Miss Wantagh Organization is about, it consists of a minimum of six girls and could range to about ten. Even though only one person is crowned Miss Wantagh, all of the girls still take action in events throughout the year. The Miss Wantagh Court volunteers at numerous events like the Wantagh El Cupcake Dance, Halloween Festivals, and orientations. It’s been an immense outlet for my court and I to network. We’ve worked alongside influential individuals like Congressman Peter King, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, and Nassua Legislator Steve Rhoads.

When a Miss Wantagh is crowned they must create a project to better the community. My platform is about spreading mental health awareness within the education system. Oftentimes, we get caught up in “tomorrow” and don’t live for today.  

The week of December 13th, I implemented Wantagh Wellness Week. A week devoted to spreading awareness and practicing self-love and care. 

At the age of eight years old, I was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD. At such a young age, it’s hard to comprehend what you’re feeling and that makes it even harder to express. If I wasn’t able to understand my feelings, how could anyone else? Internally, I was struggling for quite some time, yet nobody would ever know and I think that is the most important part. We never know what is going on in someone else’s life and I believed that by creating this wellness week, it would open doors to letting others know they are not alone. 

The idea of “going places” was always on the backburner and what kept me moving. So, when I discovered the Miss Wantagh Organization, it became a source to express the significance of mental health and mental illness awareness. Statistically, one in five teenagers has a mental illness…often undiagnosed. My mission was to open the discussion school-wide and get the conversation rolling.

 During physical education periods on monday and tuesday, myself alongside the Miss Wantagh Court, P.E. Leaders, and Minds Matter Club showed a Ted-Talk by Iskra Lawerence that highlighted the importance of ending the pursuit for perfection. She elaborates on how the most important relationship we have in our lives is the one we have with ourselves and we’re not taught enough about it. With the help of volunteers from each club, we were able to share our message and let students know that they’re not alone in their journey. I’ve turned my “weaknesses” into my greatest assets and I am constantly aiming to help others do the same. 

Furthermore, Wellness Wednesday involved bringing awareness to the time we spend on our phones and limiting the exposure, hence digital detox. On Thoughtful Thursday, each homeroom  was supplied with post-its for students to write a positive affirmation. On Factual Friday, these messages were available for the taking in the main lobby along with a “Wantagh Wellness” poster for students to sign throughout the day. On the table, there were helpful posters and planners to aid students’ stress before the holidays. 

I was determined to make a difference and create a safe environment for students to become more educated about their mental health. My main motto is, “if you wouldn’t let your phone battery drain, don’t let that happen to your mental health either.” If I was able to change one person’s mindset, that’s all that really matters.