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A local school has achieved “Gold status” in the Healthy Schools Certification Program, according to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

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École secondaire catholique l’Essor was the only school in the region to reach the status in the 2021-2022 school year.

“Mental health needs have increased during the pandemic,” said vice-principal Grant Rivard. “Students need to be equipped with stress management strategies and know the organizations that are there to support them in times of difficulty and crisis. We are proud to receive gold certification and the recognition for continued efforts in the development of the wellbeing of all of our students.”

The Ontario Physical and Health Education Association’s Healthy Schools Certification Program recognizes school communities for promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of students, school staff, and the broader community.

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The health unit said 252 schools across Ontario participated in the four-step Healthy Schools Process for a Bronze, Silver or Gold certification.

The primary focus for École secondaire catholique l’Essor’s Healthy Schools Certification Committee, which included staff and students, was mental health. The initiatives included hosting mental health presentations, participating in the #JeSuisÀTonCôté campaign, and creating gratitude and positive affirmation murals.

The health unit recognized the school’s achievement with a commemorative plaque.

“The school’s commitment and dedication to promoting a healthy lifestyle is the cornerstone of building a broader healthy community,” the health unit said.

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