SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic's Schedule Dedicated to Student Needs (SDSN), a new initiative that centers on building time into the school year to address student needs, had a successful launch day on Wednesday.

The senior class spent the morning working on college applications, editing college essays, and checking in with school counselors who were on hand to answer questions and provide assistance. Additionally, seniors wrote letters to themselves surrounding reflections, goal setting, and setting intentions. After the college preparation and letter writing, seniors recharged by spending time in the courtyard.

Senior Chelsea Alves found the time dedicated to the college application process beneficial.

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"The college process is Very stressful and overwhelming, so having time dedicated to working on our Common Application, essay, and any other loose ends was so helpful," said Alves. "Counselors gave us an amazing checklist to help gather our thoughts and ensure we have everything we need done. It was great working with my peers and counselors and having time to relax in the courtyard."

The junior and sophomore classes gathered in the auditorium for a presentation on social media and online responsibilities titled, Cyberbullying and Reputation: The Lasting Effects of One Text, Tweet or Post. Additionally, the junior class wrote reflective letters to themselves.

Junior Ben Abood found the social media presentation informative and enlightening.

"Our student needs day was a great experience for the junior grade," said Abood. "We learned about the dangers of social media and about the importance of the choices we make on the internet. This was a much needed reminder to all students that social media plays a more critical role in our lives than we would like to believe."

Sophomore Allison Julve also commented on the relevance of the presentation.

"I really appreciated the speaker explaining to us how our decisions on social media can affect us," said Julve. "This presentation was really informative and up-to-date and showed us the ways colleges and employers can look into our social media accounts."

Lastly, the freshman class spent the morning packing personal care item kits complete with handwritten letters of encouragement for those serviced by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark. Freshmen concluded their morning with outdoor fun and games on the UC turf.

Freshman Erini Dagiantis came away from the day feeling like she made a difference in the lives of others.

"Our grade worked on a community service project that helped people in need," said Dagiantis. "We packed care packages for people who are less fortunate than we are. Doing this really showed me how fortunate we are, and we don't even realize it. While I was packing the items I realized that we were packing everyday necessities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, and deodorant. I felt so much better about myself because I knew I was doing something good from the kindness of my heart. I enjoyed this day so much, and I hope more people and schools participate in an amazing project like this one."

Mrs. Jennifer Dixon, Director of School Counseling, looks forward to the development of future SDSN days.

"The SDSN was developed as a direct result of student feedback," said Mrs. Dixon. "Our UC Community worked together to bring this vision to fruition. We look forward to expanding these opportunities in the future."