Students come together to discuss ways to form safe habits.

Haley Stephenson

   In high school, a place full of societal and peer pressures, it is important for students to discuss ways to form good habits they will carry for the rest of their lives. At LHS, this knowledge and awareness starts with the newly formed FRESH club.

   “FRESH stands for Finding Reasons to Exercise Safe Habits,” club president senior Cameron Murphy said. “This club took the place of ‘SPARQ’ and it’s basically a club where we advocate for healthy lifestyles. Previously it was only geared towards drug and alcohol prevention, now it’s broadened to include topics like mental health and bullying as well.”

   Murphy was inspired to lead the club after many years of participating in the club that FRESH replaced.

   “I was already in the old club, SPARQ, and when I heard about the new club and found out Mrs. Duncan wanted to sponsor it, I really wanted to take charge and help out with it because I think it’s really important,” Murphy said. “I’m really glad that the club didn’t just die off as some projects have in the past. It’s so important to advocate for healthy lifestyles, mentally and physically, no matter the age.”

   Club sponsor and counselor Nikki Duncan replaced the club name, not so much the club.

   “Honestly, I changed it last year because I thought FRESH sounded better than SPARQ,” Duncan said. “I also wanted to be consistent with North because they also have a FRESH club and sometimes we collaborate.”

   New members of the club join for various reasons. Some come to meetings in support of the anti-drug message that the club promotes, while some go for the opportunity to mentor and teach younger students about healthy lifestyles.

   “I joined because a lot of my friends were joining and I’m very against vaping,” junior Tait Harvey said. “That’s basically what the club is about, anti-drugs, so I thought it would be a good opportunity.”

   FRESH heavily focuses on outreach programs and puts value on combating misinformation regarding making healthy life choices.

   “One of the things that we do is go to the elementary and middle schools, where we have a ‘trading card’ program,” Harvey said. “We hand out cards of our favorite things to do – like sports and other healthy activities – instead of unhealthy habits. We spread awareness of how bad drugs and alcohol can be and we get it into their heads at a young age, so they won’t do it when they get to the high school.”

   As the club leader, Murphy agrees that prevention is the most important step towards creating a safe and healthy environment for students to thrive in.

   “We make some posters to hang around the school,” Murphy said. “We do the monthly ‘air fresheners’ that are usually in the bathroom. Another big thing we do is we go to as many elementary and middle schools as we can. We do activities with the kids and teach them about what it means to lead a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes we also help to prepare the middle school students for what high school will be like, and the different kinds of peer pressure that comes along with it. When we go to advocate to younger students, it is all geared toward prevention, which I think is really important. ”

   Many say that FRESH is highly beneficial for freshmen, who may not be used to the increased pressure to participate in unhealthy activities such as drugs, consumption of alcohol and bullying.

   Freshman Caden Murphy states that FRESH has been a helpful stepping stone from LMS to LHS.

   “The change is very drastic. Sometimes I see people vaping in the bathroom,” Murphy said. “I hear about drugs all the time, I’ll see it on Snapchat. It’s very different from how things were in eighth grade.”

   To enjoy the candy bowl passed around during each meeting, and membership to the club, email Murphy or Duncan.

   “If you want to join, you basically just have to talk to Mrs. Duncan or I,” Murphy said. “Everybody is welcome, and a lot of the time members of the club just bring friends along for the day, which is totally fine. Club meetings generally are held on the second and fourth Friday of the month in the counseling office meeting room.”

   The club aims to be all-inclusive and invites anyone looking to make a change in the school to join.

   “I would recommend this club to people that want to talk about healthy alternatives to drugs and alcohol and to anyone that is sick of walking into a bathroom and seeing everyone vaping,” Harvey said.