Robert F. Morehead Middle School students recieved health screenings Thursday and resources regarding healthy activities.
Dollarway School District Superintendent Barbara Warren welcomed the students into the gym and asked for their feedback as they departed. Morehead enrolls more than 300 students in grades five to eight in the Dollarway School District.
“We have a a very rich health services program,” Warren said. “Some years ago, we got the community health grant and we have a neat wellness center. And we are really a leading health services programmer. Our health services director nurse Mae Hawkins-Coleman is very forward-thinking and always health-conscious.”
Healthy students are more likely to thrive than unhealthy students, Warren said.
“When children get proper amounts of sleep and are eating well-balanced meals, they are able to concentrate better,” Warren said. “And often times it ties to other needs.”
Citing vision and hearing screenings, Warren said, “Children have needs that can be met by a number of social services. We are trying to fill in any gaps that we need to fill in. This is often when children find out they have scoliosis.”
Hawkins-Coleman oversaw the children and answered their questions Thursday. Some students and teachers were found to have high blood pressure, high blood sugar and diabetes.
Anti-bullying efforts were also part of the health fair, which was well-attended, district officials said.
“I am very pleased with this great turnout,” Hawkins-Coleman said. “The kids are really enjoying it. We want all the kids to be aware of bullying. Sometimes they think they are playing with the students but it can be a method of bullying. They cannot really know they are being bullied. Once we put out the signs of bullying, they say ‘Oh my gosh! I’m being bullied.’”
Hawkins-Coleman advises the children to report bullies to teachers. She credited the students for asking for the district to host a health fair.
Dollarway School District Deputy Superintendent Melvin Bryant was giving support to the vendors and encouraging students to receive health screenings.
“Some of our kids have some issues that they were not aware of because many have not gone to the doctor,” Bryant, who has a doctorate degree, said. “We have a few here today who we will do follow up on because their blood pressure is high. Their parents were not aware.”
Diane Boyd-Emelife, principal of Robert F. Morehead Middle School, said the health fair teaches students about bullying and sexual abuse.
“It promotes healthy living,” Boyd-Emelife said.
Nurses Bobbie Webb, Kirsten Berry, and Sequoya Herron of the Chi Eta Phi sorority took blood pressure of students.
The health fair featured the Dollarway social services, Cooperative Extension Service, The Pointe Center behavioral health, the Arkansas Department of Health, Access, the National Guard, the Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services, C.H.A.N.G.E., People Advocating Transition, and the Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare.