Courtesy of Aliki Dimitoglou
School and the workload can be overbearing to students and with the added weight of sports and other extracurriculars, it can be easy for students to feel like they are drowning in a swirling sea of tests, homework assignments and sports meets. Luckily, there is a solution for orchestra students: Frantic Fridays.
“Frantic Fridays is an event almost every Friday that takes class time to help students cope with the stress and anxiety of being a student at WCHS,” Concert and Symphonic orchestra director Kristofer Sanz said.
Five years ago, Sanz noticed that his students were showing a decline in enthusiasm due to academic stress, and their work ethics were not where they had been before. So, Sanz started this program in attempts to improve his students’ work ethics and moods while also alleviating their stress.
“Instead of playing our instruments, Mr. Sanz dims the lights and turns on calming music,” sophomore Stephanie Zoltick said. “We begin with a few standing stretches and then we usually close our eyes and sit down in our chairs.”
WCHS has tried implementing similar wellness and mental health programs to try and offer relaxation periods to students with new techniques like Wellness Wednesday and the Wellness Fair, but they have not been met with entirely positive student responses.
“I understand Wellness Wednesday is also supposed to be something where students can take their mind off of studies,” Zoltick said. “But from my point of view, Wellness Wednesday just becomes an extra 20 minutes to catch up on classes.”
Frantic Fridays has been met with equal reactions, a balance of enjoyment and constructive suggestions for the program.
“Thought the main purpose is to deal with stress, I somewhat find [frantic fridays] as a waste of time that could be put into good use, regardless of the necessity to relax,” sophomore Ana Solis Garcia de Paredes said.
Although this program is for orchestra students and limited to Fridays, Sanz is not planning to take action to expand the program to a school-wide initiative. He sees this as an opportunity to truly connect with his students on a level higher rather than just teaching them.
“With [Frantic Fridays] my students become vulnerable, which allows them to create better relationships with themselves, me, and their peers,” Sanz said.
Frantic Fridays serves as an opportunity for students to disconnect from the world and evaluate how they are feeling and how they manage with the stress of high school.
“Frantic Fridays help me wrap the week up with something stress-free and no school work related,” Zoltick said. “Instead of thinking of all the pressure from classes and extracurriculars, Mr. Sanz helps me and my classmates relax and clear our minds.”