Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh has recently taken steps to help the school develop into a more positive learning environment.
By having a paperless school, promoting healthy eating and encouraging regular physical activity, Hillel Academy believes that its students will experience more success in the classroom and in life.
Over the next several weeks. The Chronicle will publish a series of articles written by three students, Chasya Cowen, Sara Nimchinsky and Maia Wiesenfeld, who will describe how these changes affect the lives of those at Hillel Academy.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet can be a challenge, but it is necessary for long-term health and growth. Because Hillel Academy recognizes the value of good nutrition, it is now offering wholesome hot lunches daily, a first step in encouraging good eating habits. Since children spend most of their time in school, it is an appropriate place to reinforce the importance of healthful eating.
Prior to the improved lunch program at Hillel Academy, lunch offerings were limited in both variety and nutritional value. Students like the new hot lunch project — the menu changes every day, and the options include several servings of nutritious fruits and vegetables. Run by Chef Mordy Brown, the lunch program is also popular with faculty and the administration.
Waste reduction is another important component in Hillel’s environmental efforts. Not all students are participating in waste reduction, because some are unaware of the issue. Perhaps if the student body understood they would be more involved.
Before steps were taken, things were wasted all the time. Students and adults would waste paper regularly without even realizing it. Everyone can help reduce waste because any simple task can make a difference. Instead of throwing out paper, recycle it or use it as scrap paper.
Technology also gives us a way to save paper. Google documents can help with work, projects and waste reduction. Instead of printing one can share a document. Not only is it quicker, it reduces paper waste. Many people use the application — children, adults and students like us. The application is easy to use and is accessible. One can access Google documents anywhere with Internet — from home, work or school.
Exercise is important in the school curriculum. Hillel is trying to incorporate exercise into its program because it believes it helps students with their learning and focus. Exercise increases endorphins in the brain, making a person feel happy and attentive. Hillel wants students to be successful and believes that through promoting more physical activity, we can make a more green school.
Hillel Academy has made great strides with its new health initiatives. The launching of a nutritious lunch program, reduction of paper waste and addition of new fitness equipment has created positive and noticeable changes in the school environment. Experiencing these improvements firsthand, we have seen a significant impact on the school.
In upcoming articles, we will explore the impetus for these changes and how they have personally affected students, parents, faculty and the administration.
(The authors of this series are Chasya Cowen, 12th grade; Sara Nimchinsky, 10th grade; and Maia Wiesenfeld, 10th grade, all students at Hillel Academy Girls High School.)