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Hilltop Happenings

Healthy Habits on the Hilltop
Shana Stalker

Written by Director of Health Services Beth Hammond P'20

Nutritionist Jen Giles presenting to students.

Salisbury School’s robust Campus Life program is dedicated to the health and development of the whole student. In September, our focus was on trust and belonging, and October programming emphasized healthy relationships. This month’s theme was Healthy Habits, and we welcomed a number of speakers to campus to discuss such topics as substance use, nutrition, and exercise.

One such speaker was Ms. Jennifer O’Donnell-Giles, a board-certified sports dietician with a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. Ms. Giles has over 20 years experience as a coach, consultant, professor, writer, and speaker. She works with athletes of all ages and abilities and is a member of the US Olympic Committee Dietary Registry.

On “Community Day,” Ms. Giles met with students for an engaging and interactive workshop on exercise physiology. She spoke with students about the benefits of exercise and its impact on health and wellness. The students peppered her with questions that were important to them, and she was able to provide the boys with concrete information they can use now and in the future.

The following day, Ms. Giles returned to the Hilltop virtually to host a Zoom discussion on nutrition. She captivated her audience with valuable information on eating for success, both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. Ms. Giles talked about the timing, quality, quantity of our food choices and provided the boys with examples of great choices in the dining hall and in their dorms. She addressed the many questions regarding vitamins and supplements, which was especially helpful for our student athletes.

Following the presentations, Ms. Giles remarked, “Each and every time I come to campus I’m amazed by how respectful, insightful and engaged your students are. You are doing something amazing up on that Hilltop! I could talk about Nutrition and Exercise all day long so it’s always fun to speak to students who are as excited and curious about this topic as I am. It’s always such a pleasure.”

Looking ahead to January, we will be focusing our programming efforts on mental health, welcoming speakers and discussing our emotional well-being in advisory meetings.