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Learning Good Health Habits for a Lifetime

Cora Wilson knows firsthand the importance of a healthy lifestyle, having a familial history of diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer.

Wilson, a senior and president of Bonnabel Magnet Academy’s wellness council, has been a member of the council since she was a freshman.

“I know that there are some things that I can’t prevent, but if I can be as healthy as I can to prevent it, then I will do it,” she said.

The wellness council consists of students and teachers with support from the school’s health center.

According to Nancy Tigert, center nurse practitioner, this year’s wellness week at Bonnabel was a culmination of events held throughout the year.

“The primary focus was working to get the students to rethink their drink choices,” Tigert said. “We want them to understand that the choices that they make, especially with their drinks, is really a big deal, and it can affect their health now and in the future.”

The weeklong activities included group exercises, a badminton game between students and teachers, smoothies made by the culinary students, talks from LSU experts about health issues, and a demonstration for students on how to make healthy gumbo from a chef.

To help the students get in shape, Ochsner Health Systems donated two stationary bikes. Funding from Fuel Up to Play 60, Southeast Dairy Council, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation also helped Bonnabel to purchase a warrior rope system, two three-wheeled tricycles, and helmets.

“It was important for us to get the tricycles for students who are not adept at riding a bicycle,” Tigert said. “The three wheel is a safe alternative form of exercise.”

Having the equipment offers students the chance to get fit in high school, said Wilson.

“Many of my classmates are supportive and enjoy what we do, but sometimes the healthy eating message is not always an easy one to deliver,” she said.

Principal Dawn Kalb says that exercise is the key to stimulating the brain and gives students a healthy outlet.

“I appreciate having a health center at school because it keeps students in school and focused on their studies,” she said.

Wilson echoes that appreciation.

“The health center important because if a parent can’t come to school when we’re not feeling well, we have someone that we trust on campus,” she said.