He commends Green

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It’s no surprise that the 2017 Prince Edward County Teacher of the Year and High School Physical Education Teacher Janet Green would be behind something as innovative as the county high school’s outdoor classroom.

The outdoor classroom — which includes a trail, ropes course and a sitting area with benches and a podium for outdoor instruction — officially opened May 16 with a ceremony which included Green’s remarks on the endeavor to bring the project to fruition and a ribbon cutting by she and Division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson.

“We did a lot of work on this trail. It was much bigger and much more work than I thought it would be,” Green said. “It has generated so much positive publicity for the schools and exposed students to ideas and activities they have never done before.”

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Positive publicity indeed for something to get students out into the open and away from the dull one-way lecture format that often leaves kids none the wiser.

Another aspect to consider are the rates for depression among adolescents. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, in 2015 an estimated three million adolescents age 12-17 in the U.S had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. That number correlates to approximately 12.5 percent of the U.S. population among those ages.

A 2014 University of Michigan study cites that group nature walks are linked with significantly lower depression, less perceived stress and enhanced mental health and well-being.

The truth is depressed teens don’t often become happy adults. They carry that depression on into a world that’s much more stressful than they were involved with when maybe not all responsibilities were on their shoulders.

I commend Green — whose recognition could be in connection to a number of aspects — for her efforts in taking students out of the classroom and making a way for the students to engage in activities that will lead to much happier living.

MORGAN WHITE is a staff writer for The Farmville Herald. His email address is Morgan.White@FarmvilleHerald.com.