Maspeth High School celebrated the opening of a mindfulness space earlier this week that provides a place for students to focus on bettering their mental health.
According to Principal Selin Alicanoglu, the space was created to give students the ability to unwind and recharge, a need that’s become even more prevalent after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last two and a half years, it’s been a hard time for even just adults, and so for students and some of like the mental health concerns, I think that has risen from just that period,” Alicanoglu said.
Alicanoglu said students can use the mindfulness space during their lunch period by accessing the room with a QR code.
The room has various mindfulness games and adult coloring books for the students to use. A school guidance counselor monitors the space while kids take the time to relax and unwind.
“The hope was to provide a space for our students to reflect and relax,” Alicanoglu said. “[After] the busyness of their day and the academic portion of their day, [they] have a place where they can go quietly and really breathe.”
The room’s design, which took inspiration from other schools’ mindfulness rooms, features several plants, a seating area, floor cushions and a water fountain.
So far, students have been very receptive to the Mindfulness Room, according to Assistant Principal Jesse Pachter.
“They very were excited. I think a lot of them during the ribbon cutting ceremony were seen peeking [to find] out what’s behind there,” Pachter said. “The students really find it to be a relaxing space.”
Councilman Robert Holden, whose office provided the grant for the mindfulness room, attended the school ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, March 3. Holden thanked the staff and teachers at Maspeth High School for making the mental health of students a priority.
“I am thrilled to have attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the mindfulness room at Maspeth High School,” Holden said. “It was a wonderful experience to witness the dedication of Principal Alicanoglu and the staff toward making mental health and well-being a priority for their students. Providing funding for this initiative is worthwhile, as it will equip our students with the necessary skills to become successful professionals.”