RIPLEY - The 2013 Wellness Day celebration at Ripley Central School was kicked off recently by the pre-kindergarten through sixth grade assembly presentation "I Believe in Me" by musician and motivational speaker Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy, an experienced entertainer with a dynamic, interactive music and light show and message, personified this year's theme of self-esteem. Ripley students sang along, danced, "oooed" and "ahhed" over the light show and listened as McCarthy encouraged each of them to love themselves, be positive, never give up, do their best and above all believe in themselves. Students responded enthusiastically to McCarthy, his message and his showmanship.
Wellness Day continued Friday, Feb. 15 for the seventh through12th grades with Nels Ross. A self-proclaimed "professional oddball," the one from the family who put the "fun" in "dys-fun-ction," Ross entertained students and staff alike with his juggling, physical comedy and up-lifting message. He shared personal difficulties, success, failures, an overriding sense of self-determination and the willingness to experience short term defeats in exchange for long term success.
Ripley Central School students enjoy a music and light show during the district’s recent Wellness Day celebration.
Ross also hit home with many students as he crumpled a $20 bill, stepped on it, sneezed on it and dirtied it up, continually asking who still wanted the $20. When asked why students wanted a crumpled, dirty, sneezed-on $20 bill, they responded it still had value. Ross' message - regardless of how much someone gets crumpled along the way, each one of us has value, too.
Lindsey Botswick, a graduate of Ripley Central School and current senior at Mercyhurst and an Army ROTC cadet, gave high school girls an opportunity to glimpse the world outside the Ripley borders, talking about traveling in Africa and Hawaii, serving her country and finding a way in the world.
"Work hard, always does your best," Botswick said. "You never know where it will lead you."
Karate demos by Gaffer GAKA/AG Combat Sports representatives Tyler Eckman, Gaffar Adam, Sean Connor and Reece Bly further supported the theme.
Skincare and makeup tips and tricks were provided by Mary Kay Senior Sales Director Jen Vogt and Sales Director Beth Ramm. Main Street Salon owner Laura Luke and stylist Connie Brooker taught the girls how to complete the perfect manicure as others played basketball, strategy games, volleyball or worked out in the weight room.
Dance instructor Krista Taylor with assistants Jillian Stonefoot, Olivia Barone, Abby Noonan and Sarah Zinna from Danza Performing Arts Academy gave students the opportunity to learn some new moves.
Holly Spoon led several lively sessions of Zumba while RCS Principal Lauren Ormsby led sessions in the insanity drills. A scrapbooking workshop was hosted by staff members Karen Kondrick, Lisa Stonefoot and Mary Swanson. Italian cookie making with Lynne Mueller and Denine Noonan added yet another dimension to the day.
Presentations on self-esteem, positive relationships and healthy activities taught by Melanie Witkowski, a Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council trainer, and Melissa Dorchak, of the Anew Center and Salvation Army, rounded out the day's events.
At the end of the day, students beat staff in a 15-11 overtime basketball game. Teachers, however, won the day when they bested the students at tug of war.
Ripley Central School wants to extend a special thanks to Maybelline of New York, which donated nail polish and mascara. It also wants to thank the community businesses and individuals who participated, making the 2013 Wellness Day an informative, fun-filled day.