SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ --  Union Catholic's Schedule Dedicated to Student Needs (SDSN), an initiative started this school year that focuses on building time into the day for student needs, had another productive and positive outcome on Friday.

In an effort to help students deal with stress and anxiety, a variety of activities were offered for students in a relaxed setting. The activities, which created strong bonding experiences, included board games, craft making, therapy dogs, candy making, basketball, volleyball, yoga, zumba, poetry/coffee house, recycled art, meditation, yoga, zumba, food safety, crafters for social justice, silent study, inspirational and historical movies, college/career search, tongue twisters, sports talk, color for calming, Valentine’s Day Breakout Box, stress management and mental health, potted plants, and a group of students made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that will be delivered to those in need.

Mr. John Becht, a member of the SDSN Planning Committee, UC’s Campus Minister, and a member of the UC faculty, said the day was a great success.

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“I feel the day was a success,’’ said Mr. Becht. “We had two main goals for the day. First, we wanted students to have the opportunity to relieve some of the stress they may be currently dealing with. Second, we wanted students to experience positive ways in dealing with stressors. The mission of this initiative is to strengthen the mental health, development, and awareness of our students, and I feel we accomplished those goals. The students had a good time."

"There was a lot of communication, and there was great diversity with seniors and freshmen working together, which was great to see. At the end of the day, we want our students to know how much we care about them and want the best for them in all aspects of their lives, and a day like today helps to show that.’’

Mr. Becht commended everyone who helped make SDSN possible.

“Kudos to the entire planning committee and the faculty and staff,’’ said Mr. Becht. “This was a team effort to put together a schoolwide program this big’’.

Union Catholic students are thankful for the SDSN program and feel it shows how much the school cares about them.

“This is definitely a positive thing we are doing here at Union Catholic,’’ said senior Ryan Villani. “A lot of other schools don’t have a program like this. People forget that we are all humans and we have anxiety and stress in and out of school. We have school and our lives outside school with jobs and families to take care of. Having this day in school to talk to other people and just relax and hang out and not worry about school work all day is just fantastic. This really shows how much Union Catholic cares about the students and the well being of the students. It’s not easy to live in this time, and you need something to take your mind off the stress.’’

Sophomore Amanda Lumauig said the SDSN initiative is the latest example of what separates Union Catholic from most schools.

“I think this (SDSN) is really important and is something that sets Union Catholic apart from other high schools,’’ said Lumauig. “Our school shows that while academics are very important, the needs of the students are also important. High school is a place where students don’t just grow academically, but also spiritually and mentally, and Union Catholic focuses on all those aspects. Integrating all those things together is helping the students here become better people. This day goes in line with all of the core values here at Union Catholic-- Community, Compassion, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.’’