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Ferndale CASA Student Grace Rost Presents Project on…

Ferndale CASA Student Grace Rost Presents Project on Stress and Support in Schools

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 12, 2019)

Oak Park, Ferndale, MI – Students from several school districts spend their afternoons taking classes at the Center for Advanced Studies and the Arts in Oak Park, including a Ferndale High School Senior who spent a semester studying stress in schools.

Grace Rost was one of three students selected to present their project at the CASA 35th year celebration and open house.  Her topic was “Help for Students with Anxiety and Depression.”

Rost got the idea from another of her classes.  “Yoga classes at CASA help tremendously with the management of anxiety and depression,” she said.  She sought out to learn more about what schools can do to help students, how students felt about their own experiences, and if fellow teen knew what services were available to them.

Twenty six fellow students took part in the survey. The students were from CASA and Ferndale High, representing various home cities and schools.

One hundred percent of them responded they have experienced anxiety.  Nearly 74% experienced depression. Symptoms included having low energy or fatigue (78.3%), poor concentration or bad decision-making (73.9%), low self-esteem (73.9%), feeling hopeless (56.5%), poor appetite or over-eating (52.2%), and insomnia (21.7%).

“All of these affect a student’s ability to perform, not only in the classroom, but in their own lives,” she said.

Rost used her own busy high school life as an example.  She takes part in “seven extracurriculars that overlap at times,” and a schedule full of advanced level classes   “Part of my stress is self-inflicted,” she said.

Taking yoga was a challenge for her at first.  “It’s a constant pressure to take classes that look good,” she said.  She was told that it wouldn’t look good on a transcript, yet it’s a de-stressing skill that will help her throughout life.

Her research also had other examples of how schools can help students reduce stress, such as checking in with students to see how they are, educating students on mental health, relieving academic pressure, and bringing in professionals for students to talk to.

She also knows that what sounds like a simple solution, really isn’t.

Even when schools have social workers and counselors, their time is limited.  “98% of the time is with special needs kids,” Rost said.  “I’m not saying to take those resources away from special needs kids, but we all need mental health support.”

Her research also showed that Michigan spends less on education than other states.  “Governor Gretchen Whitmer is trying to add $400-$500 more per kid from money that was going to universities, that could go back to K-12,” Rost said.

Rost presented her findings to a room full of people celebrating CASA’s 35th anniversary.  CASA is a consortium school that provides higher level classes for students in the Berkley, Clawson, Ferndale, Lamphere, Madison, Oak Park and Pontiac School districts. It began in 1983, serving 35 students with four classes.  Now there is an entire catalogue including AP level courses and the arts. Students go to their home high schools in the morning and come to CASA in the afternoon. CASA offers 16 Advanced Placement classes in all major subject areas, an advanced visual arts program, a robust dance program, three world languages and many unique electives students cannot find in their home schools.

Check out more pictures and stories from the open house HERE.

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