The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


HIP’s First Training Session Paves the Way for a Healthy Year

Junior PHEs presented their first monthly modules to freshmen for the 2023-2024 school year, introducing their fellow Cavaliers to health issues and how to access resources.

Amid the evolving landscape of youth health and well-being, the Health Information Project program at Coral Gables Senior High is preparing a new group of student leaders with knowledge and passion. These skills will prepare the upperclassmen to give future presentations to freshmen during their social studies classes. On Oct. 23, HIP held its first training session in the auditorium for the junior and senior Peer Health Educators of the 2023-2024 school year.

To start the session, the PHEs each introduced themselves with their name and a fun fact to allow everyone to get to know each other. Later, they participated in bonding exercises such as the “Name Game” with adjectives, which not only helped break the ice but also showcased the uniqueness of each participant.

As the training progressed, the new PHEs were introduced to the program and were taught the skills needed to present the curriculum to this year’s freshmen. Throughout the presentation, juniors were encouraged to participate and ask questions about the curriculum and the teaching process, while their senior counterparts retold their own experiences, from being in the program last year. In addition, the student board, led by president Camila Perez-Clavarino, gave presentations detailing scenarios the new PHEs might be faced with, offering tips to help build their confidence towards this new task.

“To prepare for the training, I color-coded the script and organized with the other board members to make sure we all had an even role. We had some complications with scheduling because of the media center being reworked and other events like the college trip, but we were able to make it work. Overall, I would say the training went well and the PHEs are ready,” senior Camila Perez-Clavarino said.

Following the introductions, PHEs volunteered to practice their presentations on the auditorium stage. Preparing them for their upcoming teaching sessions, board members and peers provided constructive criticism. Each took turns pointing out what they did right and offering advice on what to improve on for future presentations. These exercises served to aid participants in overcoming any stage fright while also learning the material of the curriculum through hands-on experience.

“The HIP training was definitely fun and educational, as we were also able to practice teaching our first module before we get to teach it to the freshmen. Honestly, I would say that I am excited for my first year in HIP. I know that it might put me out of my comfort zone, but it will surely help me and others around me,” junior Celina Richardson said.

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As a part of the training, board members reviewed the first module of the curriculum with the rest of the PHEs to familiarize themselves with the material. This first chapter, meant to provide an introduction to the program and an overview of what it will cover, will be taught to the freshmen on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 during their history period.

“I really like HIP and the purpose of the program because adolescence is such an influential age and it’s important for them to have someone to talk to or relate to. I think everyone needs a person who they can trust or feel a sense of security towards, as we have most likely undergone the same problem they’re being confronted with, and being a PHE in HIP lets us become that person for those who need it,” junior Taronish Unwalla said.

To keep the PHEs ready and fit to learn, HIP sponsor Mrs. Leal-Garcia provided breakfast and lunch for all participants. The students had breaks in-between sessions to eat and bond together, outside the auditorium. These nourishing meals gave them the sustenance they needed to stay focused and engaged throughout the day.

Capping off the session, the PHEs were given their HIP shirts and participated in a final bonding session. Juniors and seniors were paired up and had to list as many facts about each other in a limited amount of time. This task allowed the trainees to get to know their peers and build bridges between different generations of educators.

As the first training day of the year comes to a close, HIP’s new PHEs stand ready to take on the challenge of educating their peers. With their newfound knowledge, they are committed to making a positive change and working towards another successful year of the program at Gables.

Current HIP Curriculum Modules
Module 1: Introduction to HIP and Healthy Practices

Students will understand personal and group experiences, learn about HIP and its website, grasp the benefits of sleep, mindfulness and healthcare, while committing to improving their well-being through specific actions.

Module 2: Nutrition and Health

Students will assess their wellness and establish physical health and nutrition objectives. They will recognize and elucidate the significance of nutritious foods for a balanced diet and understand the connection between exercise, physical well-being and the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle.

Module 3: Drugs

Students explore the multifaceted aspects of drug and alcohol use. They will recognize the physical, social, and legal implications, encompassing addiction, impaired judgment, and legal consequences. Additionally, students will delve into the health effects of smoking and marijuana use, addressing risks like lung disease, heart disease, cancer, and addiction. They will also learn about assessing the influence of peer pressure and media on substance use, empowering them to develop strategies to resist these pressures and make informed, healthy choices.

Module 4: Mental Health

Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of mental health. They will define mental health and recognize prevalent disorders such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, students will explore the intricate relationship between mental and physical health, understanding the profound impact on overall well-being. They will learn to identify strategies for stress management and the promotion of positive mental health, encompassing self-care practices, coping mechanisms, and recognizing the importance of seeking professional support when needed.

Module 5: Social Determinants of Health

Students will explore the impact of social media on teenagers' mental health, identifying effects and discussing strategies for support. They will review warning signs of gun violence and determine proactive measures to enhance community safety. Lastly, participants will engage in discussions related to the social determinants of health model, drawing connections to their own lives for a broader perspective on health-related issues.

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About the Contributor
Anthony Fajardo
Anthony Fajardo, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Anthony Fajardo, a junior in the International Baccalaureate magnet program at Coral Gables Senior High School, is gearing up for his third year as a writer for CavsConnect. With a strong passion for journalism, Anthony is excited to continue contributing to the school's publication. Beyond his writing pursuits, he is an active member of various clubs including the International Baccalaureate Honor Society, National Honor Society, Interact and Future Business Leaders of America. He is always looking to help those around him to the best of his ability. An ardent sports and music enthusiast, Anthony finds joy in supporting his Miami teams and is also a fan of FC Barcelona. As Anthony enters this new school year, he is ready to give it his all and bring positivity to those around him.
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