MMS’s Wellness Challenge: A Chat with Mrs. Guiney

Anvika Hegde and Mrugaya Bhandarkar

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        It’s 11:59 pm, way past your bedtime. You’re frustrated, sleepy, grumpy, cursing under your breath, fighting to keep your drooping eyes open. Don’t you hate these late nights of never-ending homework? Almost everyone finds it very stressful to balance extracurricular activities and a ton of homework shoved into our binders every day. 

       Lucky for us, Millburn Middle School has started the Wellness Challenge! The Wellness Challenge is held at least one day (or more) every month during each grade’s auditorium time, where all students are welcome to participate. Students complete a fun activity that relates to living a healthy and happy middle school life. This month, we interviewed Mrs. Guiney, one of the heads of the Wellness Challenge.   

Q: What is the purpose of the Wellness Challenge? 

A: The purpose, in general, is to promote a better sense of wellness throughout the school, in terms of balancing. One of the things that we see a lot is that kids are super stressed, and so, one of the things we wanted to do for our students is to help them manage the stress which we all know, is a part of life, and it’s probably not going to go away. So, what are some strategies to better manage the stress? Our idea in doing these activities is to reduce stress on kids in different ways and come together, to have fun, blow off some steam, and generally feel better.

Q: Do you think it’s working? 

A: I think we’ve had some effectiveness, some kids who last year came to these challenges, are generally the kids who come back. One of the things that I would like to see is spreading the word.

Q: What do you want students to understand from the Wellness Challenge/ the takeaway? 

A: We all have stress. We all have things in our lives that cause us to feel overwhelmed at times, so it’s important to carve out time for ourselves to release that stress.

Q: We know that the October Wellness Challenge was about standing up to bullies. What did you want students to take away from this challenge? 

A: October was Bullying Prevention Month. So just an alignment with that theme, of being kind to each other, having respect for one another, sounded like a good idea. This is a “Take a Stand Chain”, so what we’re having students do is quotes they might say to a bully, or what we might say as a community to being unkind to others and disrespectful. By putting our comments together, we’re making a chain that shows a commitment to each other. We’re basically pushing a message, “Hey, we’re going to be kind to each other” and other such messages.

Q: What is the November month’s wellness challenge about? 

A: I’m not going to tell you (laughs) partly because it’s still in planning stage, and I’m ninety-five percent sure that we’re going to do this thing, with a theme that relates to gratitude; being grateful for the things that you have and see the positive aspects of your life. You’re going to have to wait a little longer to find out!


After a fun period of making paper chains with unique messages about standing up to bullies, we interviewed two students: Kaushik and Aaron from teams 6B and 6L, respectively, to see what they thought of this experience.

Q: Why did you choose to come here instead of talking to your peers (during auditorium)? Is it because you can relate to the stress caused from being bullied (if you ever have been bullied)?  

Kaushik said that since he was new to Millburn, he got to know Mrs. Guiney through Lunch Bunch. From there, he found out about the Wellness Challenge and decided to attend. He said that he could relate to the stress caused by being bullied. Aaron, on the other hand, came here because he wanted to make new friends since he, too was new to the school, and can also relate to the stress caused by being bullied.

Q: Have you taken anything away from this challenge? What do you think the takeaway of this challenge is? 

Kaushik thought that the takeaway of this challenge was that no one should ever be bullied. Aaron replied that sharing your problems about bullying with others can help you feel better; it connects us as a community.

Q: Do you feel like your stress is released?

Both agreed that they felt better.

Q: Did you enjoy your experience and will you come back next time and spread the word? 

They said they would probably come back next time as well as spread the word.

Q: What did you like about this challenge? What would you change about it? 

While Kaushik said that he liked everything about this challenge and would probably not change anything about it, Aaron suggested that he would like activities that relate to managing homework, tests, etc.-common challenges that are faced by most students.

Anyone who would like to join the Wellness Challenge can join with this Google Classroom Code: prpcd1e.

Join soon and spread the word!

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MMS’s Wellness Challenge: A Chat with Mrs. Guiney