Ryan talks school importance with students

Staff report


U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, visited Valley schools – including Choffin Career and Technical Center, Harding Elementary and Hubbard Middle schools – Monday to talk with students.

At Harding, Ryan showed students the importance of mindfulness and deep-breathing exercises.

“Your mind can either go in the future and think about tomorrow or the past and think about something in the past,” Ryan told students. “You could also think about the present – the right now. You need to train your mind to live in the present.”

Living in the present and practicing deep, even breathing can be used to calm oneself, Ryan added.

Specifically, Ryan was talking about calming oneself before taking the AIR test, the American Institute of Research tests used by Ohio schools aligned with the Ohio Learning Standards upon which instruction is based.

The AIR tests assess students’ proficiency in English/language arts, math, science and social studies.

“Everybody has been working very hard this year, from students to teachers to principals and other administrators,” said Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip. “The AIR tests are an opportunity for students to demonstrate all that they’ve learned.”

Jaliel Graham, 12, said taking deep breaths is relaxing, especially before a big test.

But Jaliel said he’s not nervous for the AIR tests. “I feel pretty good about it,” he said.

At Choffin, Ryan visited an engineering class and 3-D printing class to talk about the importance of manufacturing.

He stopped at Hubbard Middle School to talk to an eighth-grade class about its hydroponic garden, on his tour through Mahoning and Trumbull counties to talk about health and mindfulness.

Frank O’Brien, Hubbard Middle School health teacher, explained that the garden has a few levels of fertilizer trays and LED lights in place of sunlight. A water circulation system flows throughout the levels.

Having the hydroponic garden in health class gives students an incentive to eat healthy foods. On certain days, students can bring vegetables and come to class and make a salad with the fresh lettuce.

“Normally, the lettuce you buy is grown in California, so by the time it gets here, it is 3 weeks old. In class, it only takes a couple weeks of the lettuce to grow, and it tastes fresher, and is crisper,” O’Brien said.

The class is going to donate about 15 pounds of lettuce this weekend to the St. Patrick Church food pantry.

Ryan told the students he wanted to stress to them how important a healthy lifestyle is, and why they should eat fruits and vegetables over processed food. He said the health problems that happen from poor health habits, such as diabetes, are costly to the health care system.

CONTRIBUTORS: Staff writers Amanda Tonoli and Samantha Phillips.

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