Rest Fest participants choose to snooze


Molly Baldino

Senior Sasha Lakis attends the first meeting of the Rest Fest Club.

Brooke Crocker and Kristin Perzanowski

Twenty-first century high school students across the nation feel the stress and pressure to do well in school. With more homework and what seems like less time, students feel overworked and exhausted. 

This idea is what led students Lauren Pagliccia and Molly Pogue to start the club Rest Fest at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS). The club, facilitated by history teacher Corinne Kurtz, is bringing a new discussion and perspective to the school about students’ well-being.

The club meets every other Tuesday during a 40-minute flex period in the library conference room. Activities during these meetings will range from actual rest periods to opportunities for students to learn better coping strategies for de-stressing and about how to relax properly. At every other meeting, guests will come in to guide students through sleeping techniques meant to help them get the most out of a night’s sleep. 

At the first meeting, club leaders guided everyone to the snacks table, which included chocolate chip cookies, Nilla Wafers, apple juice, and tea to help get into a relaxed mindset.

Rest Fest is being promoted as a way to “eat snacks, rest, and nap!” according to the flyers posted throughout the high school’s hallways, which are filled with “Rest Fest” chatter, as many students are talking about the club. 

At the beginning of the meeting, Molly addressed the club’s focus on de-stressing and relaxing, and then after a couple of minutes of talking and eating, everyone who attended the club rolled out their yoga mats — which the school provided — and began to rest. 

Students nowadays are bombarded with constant stress in life, whether it’s caused from their home life or the class work from school, so it’s not surprising that teenagers need an opportunity to simply relax. “Stress will make you sick,” said Ms. Kurtz. “Stress is a killer.”
According to the American Psychological Association, 36 percent of teens claim to be tired due to school stress. Additionally, on average, teens sleep seven hours a night, while eight is the minimum recommended by doctors.
“I teach Advanced Placement [AP], and I see it all day,” said Ms. Kurtz. “Kids are so anxious, and constantly working. They’re just really stressed out.”
The club received a lot of positive feedback from those who attended the first meeting. “I’d suggest this club to any student who feels school has worn them out,” said sophomore Noah Lawry. “I already feel more energized.”
While students agree Rest Fest is a club perfect for relaxing during the school day and helping to relieve stress, they still believe it’s not enough to address the ways in which school is overwhelming.
“I feel like school expects so much. There’s not enough time,” said junior Ava Maggi. Ava says she thinks she will already start to see results after attending one meeting: “I think I will be happier for the rest of the day.”
While school certainly has a lot of expectations for students, there are external forces which cause stress as well.
“I think we put a lot of time and attention into wellness at this school,” said Ms. Kurtz, “and I’ve seen that in the past several years, really being focused on mental health. But then we are also the academic institution that’s giving people a lot of work to do. But it’s important to note that it’s not only the school, a lot of it is cultural.”