Positivity, self-awareness and respect permeated conversations in the halls and classrooms at Ward Melville High School as students and staff came together to celebrate this year’s Patriot PRIDE Day.

During the annual event, traditional classes were suspended and students were invited to participate in a series of events and workshops centered on creating a culture of kindness, compassion and acceptance. 

The program began with an assembly with keynote speaker Jeff Yalden, who encouraged the students to recognize the importance of mental health and to not let obstacles get in the way of living their best life. 

Throughout the remainder of the day, students attended workshops with outside presenters and staff focused on lifesaving skills, hands-on activities, and tips for overcoming anxiety and stress. With the help of Stony Brook University and the Setauket Fire District, students received training in CPR, performed in a drum circle with music teacher Jason Champman and practiced yoga with science teacher Marnie Kula. Additionally, one speaker – Kevin Alter – spoke about the trial and tribulations faced by addicts in a program called The Addict’s Diary.