A Healthy Curiosity Wellness Fair Gets Wood Dale Junior High Students Thinking, Moving

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Byline: Catherine Edman

Wood Dale Junior High School was temporarily transformed into the city's largest health-care center Friday.

The day's classes were canceled, but 400 students were taught other invaluable lessons. Some 75 first- and second-year medical students from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, a college of Midwestern University in Downers Grove, took time away from their own studies to participate in a Health Education Fair.

Other local doctors and health clinics, including chiropractor Dave Clayton, Whole Foods, CareNet and Alexian Brothers Medical Center, also participated this year.

Fair co-organizer and physical education teacher Jane Stitzel said this is the seventh year the medical students have come to the junior high.

Students scattered from classroom to classroom every 15 minutes to learn about health issues related to their age group such as drug addiction, depression, smoking and two new favorites: aromatherapy and rock climbing.

"We asked them to make the presentations cater to the short attention span of the students," Stitzel said of the medical students. "But they have free rein to dispense information on the various areas of expertise."

The demonstrations were hands-on, sometimes with full student participation. Some of the more popular stations at the health fair included the rock climbing wall and aerobic dance sessions.

"It's been a fun day, and I've learned a lot about being healthy and being able to help out in an emergency, too," said 12-year-old Mark DeNicolo. "The climbing wall was my favorite; I made it all the way to the top."

Seventh-grader Marissa Morales agreed the event was time well spent and never thought she would get to dance to 'N Sync in her school gymnasium.

"Aerobics was fun because a group of us just got to jump around, clear our heads and get our hearts going," she said.

Midwestern University student Bryce Swanson taught sessions on alcohol abuse and said she was impressed with the maturity, responsiveness and questions of several junior high students.

"They made excellent points and some asked questions that I never expected to hear," she said.

Reporters in the making: Look out Lois Lane, budding journalists are developing at Stone School in Addison.

Third-graders in Carol Nilles' class tried their hand at being reporters Thursday by interviewing each other for profile stories to run in a classroom newspaper - complete with photos of their profiled peers.

Marisa Bondi wrote about Trevor Kantor's interest in football, action games and reading. Then Trevor turned the tables and interviewed Marisa and relayed her interests in swimming and horseback riding.

Anthony Liace found the exercise challenging and interesting. Being a reporter is not so easy, he said. You need to have a lot of questions and know how to spell. But he learned some new information about his classmate, who wants to be a veterinarian or a horse trainer.

The reporting activity was part of a Junior Achievement program taught by Village Manager Joe Block.

Once a week, students learn about different professions. …