Bougainvilla House offers insight for middle schoolers

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Clinical Director Hara Wachholder, left, and therapist Rebecca Merson spoke with middle school students about anxiety, mindfulness and stress. (Photo/ Kayla Rubenstein)

For students in grades six through eight, Upper School may seem like a frightening, stress-inducing entity. In order to alleviate the worries associated with graduating to higher grades, speakers from the Bougainvilla House, a non-profit therapy center, spoke to middle school students Friday, Sept. 6 during eight and ninth periods. 

After working with the guidance office in the past and receiving positive feedback from AHS parents, Ms. Cici Kelly, CEO of the Bougainvilla approached the school about possibly speaking to younger students. Through a conversation among Ms. Kelly, Mrs. Becerra and junior high guidance counselors and principals, the group decided on a series of four talks, one per quarter, on prevalent topics for middle school students.

Clinical director Hara Wachholder and therapist Rebecca Merson began the series of talks with a discussion about anxiety, mindfulness and stress. “We’re starting in middle school because the younger we work towards growth, the better it is for us individually and as a whole,” Wachholder said. 

As for the rest of the talks, representatives from the Bougainvilla house will cover kindness and social media Nov. 4, vaping and substance abuse Jan. 13 and nutrition and body image April 9. 

“We hope that through this presentation and the subsequent other three, our middle school students will be better equipped to handle the rigor and stress that Upper School has with it,” junior high principal Mrs. Anita LaTorre said. “Going forward, by the time they get to high school, they know how to manage these subjects.” 

As a senior, Kayla Rubenstein spends her fourth (and heartbreakingly final) year on staff as Online Editor-in-Chief, Business Manager and Social Media Correspondent. Wanting to make the most of her senior year, Kayla serves as the President of Quill and Scroll, Historian of Rho Kappa and Co-Historian of NHS, while also actively participating in EHS and SNHS. Outside of school, Kayla contributes to Mensa’s publications and volunteers with different organizations within her community. An avid reader, Kayla can often be found with her nose in a book when not working on an article for The Patriot Post or developing a project for iPatriot Post.