Healthy Heart Week at Howell

February 22, 2021

Students at Howell Road Learn All About the Heart and How to Keep It Going!

Recently, students at Howell Road Elementary School in Valley Stream Union Free School District Thirteen celebrated Healthy Heart Week. Students in Mrs. Watson’s and Mrs. Pettas’ class learned about the functions of the heart and how to keep it healthy throughout the course of their lives.

Mrs. Alexis Reyes, parent and RN at Long Island Jewish – Forest Hills, taught the students about the function of the heart and what it does for our body. She sent in x-rays for the students to look at- one of a healthy heart versus one of a damaged heart. She pointed out the specific differences in the two x-rays and explained what caused the visible damage.

This led the class into a conversation about the damaging effects of smoking tobacco products – including cigarettes, cigars, vapes and e-cigarettes. Mrs. Reyes mentioned how smoking can lead to cancer, bad breath, wrinkled skin, yellow teeth, elimination from physical activities like sports, karate, dancing, etc.

She also gave the students strategies for avoiding peer pressure as they transition into junior high school. She offered great advice and suggested they have a “plan b” if they feel nervous saying “no” to their peers about trying tobacco products. For example, “I am training for a game/meet/match.”

The class then covered the topic of nutrition including portion size, healthier choices and also having a balanced diet – not necessarily eliminating foods/drinks, but having balance and eating and drinking in moderation. Mrs. Reyes then invited students to ask questions, which they had many of! She was able to answer all of their questions about nutrition, smoking, dieting and diabetes. The students were thrilled to have her as a virtual visitor and learn about perhaps the most vital organ in the human body.