Photos courtesy of the Massapequa School District
Education and prevention was the mission for students from Massapequa High School’s Peer AIDS Educators club during their visits to Berner Middle School on Nov. 29 and 30. They delivered their interactive program to seventh and eighth graders during physical education classes.
The Massapequa School District marked World HIV/AIDS Awareness Week from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 with age-appropriate lessons across the district. Under the direction of adviser Kyle Hanson, the high school students spent months preparing lessons, which included skits about the transmission of HIV and AIDS and the effect on the body’s immune system.
Peer AIDS educators discussed ways that the immunodeficiency virus spreads. They then presented different scenarios and asked Berner students to walk to the appropriate sign if it was high risk, low risk or no risk for transmission. The high school students also showed pictures of celebrities and asked the seventh and eighth graders to identify who has AIDS or HIV in the “AIDS has no face” skit.
Berner students were also given cups of jelly beans, which they had to dump into a bin. When they were done, the full bin represented the number of pills a typical person with HIV or AIDS has to take in a month.
Mr. Hanson said that the skits were based on the New York State health curriculum for AIDS education for middle school students. He added that the purpose of the Peer AIDS Educators club is to provide them with knowledge on how to stay healthy from other students that they look up to.
While lessons for secondary students focused on HIV and AIDS prevention, students in the elementary schools learned basic tips to stay healthy. Kindergartners at Unqua Elementary School were focused on ways to stop the spread of colds and other airborne illness, and to strengthen their immune systems through proper diet and exercise.