Middle School “Getting to Y” Students Present at VAMLE Conference
March 23, 2023
For the last several years, Thetford Academy’s “Getting to Y” (GTY) middle and high school teams have been working to make an impact on the health and well-being of TA’s student body. Through the process of analyzing the real data from Vermont’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), Getting to Y empowers students to take action on the issues that affect their school community the most.
This year, Thetford Academy’s middle school GTY team (Jillian Fein, Logan Wells, Tristan Woodward, Eliza Knowlton-Young, MaryAnn Maxfield, and Paul Hesser) was invited to present their work at the 10th annual Vermont Association for Middle Level Education (VAMLE) student conference. These student leaders, excited to share their experiences and insights with other middle school students, created an interactive one-hour workshop to engage attendees on the benefits of data analysis in identifying root causes and creating solutions to the most prevalent risk behaviors.
Our GTY team shared examples of how they have used YRBS data to support student health and well-being at Thetford Academy, including “Sunshine Boxes” to lift students spirits and show them they are seen and important and an “InSTALLments” initiative to provide important health and wellness information via TA’s bathroom stalls. They talked about the student resource center they created in TA’s annex and the “Zen Zone” in progress in the library. In addition, students shared how they presented information on suicide prevention and strategies for coping with stress with the entire student body at TA.
At the VAMLE conference, the audience was excited to engage with our students, learn more about their projects, and had many questions about how to implement projects in their own community. It’s through experiences like this, where youth teach and empower other youth, said GTY advisor Kara Toms, that “meaningful change will take place in individuals, schools, and communities.” At TA, we’re already seeing it happen.