Westminster Supports Students During Stressful Times


Amir Mason

Due to the great amount of pressure Westminster Middle School students have to endure as exams loom, Westminster has decided to provide a great deal of support for middle schoolers so they can perform their best. 

As the semester ends, students will often find themselves scrambling to manage the rigorous academics at Westminster, having to take the last tests and quizzes and finish assignments, all while preparing for the imminent exams. This commotion leaves many students stressed out, making it extremely difficult to finish the semester strong.

In response, Westminster utilizes Learning Strategists Dr. Toi Curry and Mrs. Carson Given in the Middle School to enhance student learning while also alleviating the academic strain. Especially with exams, students’ opportunity to meet with the Learning Strategists provides excellent personal and academic assistance. “Anything we can do as counselors and learning strategists to help students decrease their stress . . . we want to be there and help,” Dr. Curry states. “Even if that means checking up on students weekly or giving them study strategies, we want to minimize stress, because when your brain is stressed, it doesn’t retain information.” Most recently, in an effort to minimize stress, Curry and Given created and distributed an Exam Preparation Packet so students could plan their study schedule ahead of time.

Along with the Learning Strategists, middle schoolers can find aid throughout Clarkson Hall, with the whole school engaging in serving students. Ranging from daily Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) tips for eighth-graders and a Stress Less Week consisting of self-care activities, several programs have been jump-started by Westminster in the past weeks. In addition to the already present elements of the Middle School, these initiatives, such as learning strategists, counselors, and clubs focused on mental health, create an even more supportive community. Mrs. Saundria Zomalt, Middle School Counselor and Adviser of the Mindfulness Club, explains, “We want to equip our students to not only learn the skill of taking exams but also learn how to manage stress in healthy ways. Students in this generation, especially, need extra support with maintaining positive mental health and managing life stressors that weren’t present when I was in Middle School.”

With Westminster’s increased attention to students’ needs, middle schoolers can expect a more favorable outcome on their exams, as they have the whole school backing them, providing help and embracing their need for assistance with open arms.