Challenge Day at Winter Park Consortium Secondary Schools

This month, about 400 students and more than 50 staff members and parents joined together for Challenge Day at Winter Park High School, Glenridge Middle School and Maitland Middle School.  Challenge Day was designed to foster acceptance and appreciation of one another with the idea of sharing the concept with others.  Students, staff, and parents joined together to share thoughts and to begin developing a sense of unity.

Winter Park High School’s School Advisory Council (SAC) led the efforts to bring Challenge Day to the Winter Park Consortium schools (WPC).  The SACs coordination combined with the many individuals and businesses who donated funds and resources, made Challenge Day in the WPC schools a success.

The acceptance and appreciation developed during Challenge Day  won’t end now that the Challenge Day is complete.  The WPHS SAC has created Be the Change, with the goal of creating a lasting secondary school community and culture that values diversity, supports differences and builds positive relationships. Through Be the Change, programs will be created to give WPC secondary students tools to communicate, adapt and thrive in an ever more complicated world.

Winter Park – Be the Change

  • Provide sustainable programs, such as Challenge Day, based on our student’s needs
  • Show positive student results from programs: increased self-esteem; increased academic achievement; increased connection to and within our community; reduced discipline referrals; and quite literally, lives forever affirmatively changed and even saved.
  • Sign up to Be the Change on Facebook: @winterparkbethechange
  • Support these WPHS efforts in continuing to build a caring, informed, tolerant community by being part of the Change at Winter Park – Be The Change.
  • An in-kind or service donation can be pledged via e-mail to or You will be honored as a Winter Park High School Community Partner and be invited to “Be the Change” project events for special recognition.

Stay tuned for Challenge Day and Be the Change updates!

Live.Life.Healthy Hosts Real Food Drive

Live.Life.Healthy would like to provide Winter Park High School (WPHS) students with fresh fruits and vegetables they can take home with them over the holiday breaks.  WPHS has many students that utilize the school’s food pantry (which consists of canned or boxed food), that would truly appreciate REAL food.  Live.Life.Healthy is partnering with Amp Your Good on this Real Food Drive so  you can donate fresh produce.

It’s easy to help!  Just select the donate button, pick out and purchase the food you would like to donate and it will be delivered directly to the WPHS food pantry after the drive is over.  You’ll receive a tax receipt via email.

Hurry, the drive ends November 30, 2016.

Click here to learn more and to donate.

Talking to Children about Violence

As you may have heard on the news, Winter Park High School has experienced the heartbreaking death of one of their students, Roger Trindade.  The Winter Park High School School Counselors, Winter Park Health Foundation CHILL counselors and the school’s SAFE coordinator have crisis management procedures in place to help the Winter Park High School students deal with their reactions to this tragedy.

As a parent, you may want to talk to your child about death because it impacts each person in different ways. How children react will depend on the relationships they had with the person who died, their age, level of development,  and their prior experience with death. Your child may: appear unaffected, ask questions about the death repeatedly, be angry or aggressive, be withdrawn or moody, be sad or depressed, become fearful or scared, have difficulty sleeping or eating.

Your child may have unresolved feelings that he/she would like to discuss with you. You can help your child by listening carefully, not overreacting, accepting his/her feelings and answering questions according to your beliefs. “I don’t know” is an answer too.

Points to Remember About Students During a Sudden Death Crisis

  •  Sudden death is especially difficult because there has been no time to prepare for the loss. It occurs without warning and reactions may therefore be delayed.
  • If the circumstance of the loss have also been violent, children may seem preoccupied with both the fact that the death occurred as well as how it occurred.
  • Children will experience a wide range of emotions, there is not “right way” to feel, each person has a unique response to crisis.
  • Talking about feelings in open discussions is an appropriate ways of expressing grief.
  • Life will return to normal. However it will take time and vary from individual to individual.

For additional guidance, please refer to the following documents:

Talking to Children about Violence (CHILL)

Grief Is

If your child needs to talk with their CHILL counselor, please click here.


Live.Life.Healthy Health Fair at Audubon Park Elementary

Last week, Live.Life.Healthy (LLH) students from Winter Park High School brought their Live.Life.Healthy health fair to Audubon Park Elementary (APE).  LLH students taught to teach students about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.  Everyone had a great time!

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Student Athletic Center Upgrades at WPHS

Congratulations to the Winter Park High School Foundation for a successful 2015-2016 school year. Through their fundraising efforts, the WPHS Foundation was able to begin renovations and upgrades to the Student Athletic Center (700 bldg).  WPHS students and student athletes are thrilled to have a state of the art facility in which to train. Go Wildcats!

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CHILL Counselor Talks to Students about Stress Management at WPHS 9th Grade Center

Winter Park High School 9th Grade Center CHILL Counselor, Caitlin McDonald, LMHC, recently talked with students about stress management and the CHILL program.  Students learned tips to help manage their stress and when it’s appropriate to utilize the CHILL program.
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For additional tips on how to help your child manage stress, check out these past posts from Healthy Kids Today:

Help Your Child Manage Stress

Maintaining Good Mental Health

Tips to Ease Testing Anxiety

To learn more about the CHILL program, click here.


WPHS Senior Receives Tori Sheahan Kindness and Compassion Award and Scholarship

The first Tori Sheahan Kindness and Compassion Award and Scholarship was presented to Emily Sahina, a senior at Winter Park High School during the Winter Park High School Senior Awards.

Tori  Sheahan worked as a nurse practitioner providing healthcare for the underserved in Central Florida for 15 years. For 12 of those years she worked closely with the Winter Park Health Foundation as a nurse practitioner at Glenridge Middle School. During that time she also helped supervise, mentor and support the school nurses in the Winter Park consortium of schools.

Tori was a champion for the health of local youth. She always made sure her patients got the care, medicine, education and social services they needed. Children and their families benefited from her medical knowledge as well as from her kindness and compassion.

Emily Sahina was selected as the first recipient of the Tori Sheahan Kindness and Compassion Award and Scholarship because of her extremely caring and compassionate nature.  Emily has positively impacted the WPHS campus through the 207 hours of volunteer service hours she has completed in the community through various organizations and clubs at WPHS.   People who know her well describe her as dependable and kind hearted. Her consideration of others is matched equally in her dedication to her academics. Her future plans include attending Valencia and majoring in either health science, psychology, or art. She is a first generation college student who loves working with children and giving back to her community.

Congratulations, Emily!

The Tori Sheahan Award and Scholarship is funded through the memorial fund set up in her name by the Winter Park Health Foundation.

Students and Parents Learn About Social Media

Jerry 3When Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) staff met with the principals from WPHF’s twelve partner schools in the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, the principals were asked to share their top school health related concerns. Unanimously, the principals spoke about social media — students not understanding how to safely and respectfully use social media and parents not understanding how to effectively monitor their child’s social media usage.

In direct response to these concerns around social media usage, WPHF brought Jerry Ackerman, a nationally known student motivational speaker and social media expert to our area to speak to students and parents.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Mr. Ackerman spoke to all Winter Park High School Live.Life.Healthy (LLH) classes.  Launched about four years ago with grant support from WPHF, LLH was created to generate a buzz among the students of WPHS about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  In order to reach as many students as possible, LLH uses social media such as Twitter and Facebook to share their healthy lifestyle messages.  Mr. Ackerman provided LLH students information on how to respectfully use and make an impact with social media.  LLH students also learned what it means to have digital citizenship and respect for others online and how to handle conflict without using social media.

Jerry 4On Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6:00 pm, Mr. Ackerman provided a parent presentation entitled “Parenting the Snapchat Generation” at Glenridge Middle School.  Mr. Ackerman gave parents a current look into the state of technology in a student’s life, rules parents should have for technology with their child, apps parents need to know about, and how parents can be armed to help the onslaught of technology. Approximately 50 parents and 15 children attended the presentation.

WPHF is in the process of conducting a follow up survey to determine the impact of Mr. Ackerman’s presentations.  If the information was well received, WPHF will bring Mr. Ackerman back for future presentations.

Questions?  Contact or 407.493.9703

Slides from Mr. Ackerman’s parent presentation are available here – Parenting the Snapchat Generation

WPHS Ugly Sweater Contest

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Staff at Winter Park High School enjoyed a healthy breakfast complete with an ugly sweater contest to celebrate the upcoming holiday break.  Happy Holidays!

Blog: Tips to Decrease Screen Time From a School Nurse

Charlotte Green - Nurse 9th Grade Center

Charlotte Deehr, RN- School Nurse, WPHS 9th Grade Center

Written by Charlotte Deehr, RN, WPHS 9th Grade Center School Nurse

Learn more about Charlotte

My childhood unfolded in the last few years before the internet even came into being. I remember being 14 and AOL was the new big thing, chatting with friends through the computer? Amazing! However, today’s kids have lived their entire lives with bleeps, buzzes and signals coming from many channels of information. Parents and teachers alike worry about the impact that constant multitasking is having on children’s developing brains.

Even at a young age children are drawn to screens and smart phones. My own 2 month old will turn his head to see the T.V if he can, after all the noise, pictures and colors must be terribly interesting to him. So how do we ensure our kids don’t grow up to be screen-a-holics when there is clearly such a pull? And for parents, who themselves have plugged in. How do we reconnect and unplug in a way that’s fun, and functional? After all, we can’t ask our children to unplug when we ourselves can’t.

This is not just some thought, idea, or inane theory about how to reconnect with your kids and support their h45044ealthy development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under 2 and limited screen time for kids over two. Their website claims that the average amount of screen time for today’s children is 7 HOURS per DAY. Whoa. That’s more than half of a typical child’s waking hours in a day! There is an increasing body of research that shows that excessive screen time can lead to attention problems, social delays, and an increase in violent behavior. Interaction with a live human being is clearly what human babies and young children need more than anything else. In fact, babies deprived of human contact die, even if they’re provided with adequate food, clothing, and shelter. Freedom to explore their world in a physical and sensory way is also crucial to healthy development. So, how can we help kids avoid media when screens are so prevalent and so unbelievably addictive? I’m glad you asked.


If you want your child to unplug, then you need to unplug. Yes it will be hard not to reach for the phone to check. Put it on silent, then you won’t hear the ding of the alerts, sit down, and enjoy dinner. Without the background noise. Show your children how to connect on a personal level not just digital.


Make them no screen time play dates. Get outside, explore, or head to a local museum/park etc. This not only gets them away from screens it also challenges them to socialize, interact and get creative.


Books, games, puzzles, crafts, any other diversional activities. If your child isn’t getting into it right away try playing WITH them. Soon they will be immersed and you may be able to return to what you were doing.


Get some chalk and decorate the driveway, make some fun crafts to hang around the house for various holidays *even silly ones like national dog day or talk like a pirate day.* This is where Pinterest comes in handy. And have the kids pitch in to help clean up afterwards, don’t forget to have fun yourself.


A little bit of roughhousing does everyone some good. Have some play time with your children, remember to let them win!


No one likes yard work, unless it’s the fun kind. Try planting a small garden, or challenging your kids to a contest of who can rake leaves the quickest (and throw in a prize if you like, something as simple as an ice cream cone, or no dish duty for the winner.)


It doesn’t matter the age, any child can get transported away to another world in the form of a good story. Get your kids involved by alternating who reads, and you can even do voices for characters if you are feeling spunky. Pretty soon your child will be begging for their daily chapter.


In a society inundated by technology and digital relationships we need to be mindful to take a moment to unplug, reconnect with ourselves and our fellow humans.