It’s All About Wellness

Steward freshmen recently spent a day in the Bryan Innovation Lab learning how to “fill up their buckets.”

While the current eighth graders were visiting the Upper School on Monday morning, the ninth grade enjoyed Freshman Day in the Bryan Innovation Lab. Organized by Director of Student Support Livia McCoy, Dean of Students Gardner Mundy, and Dean of Academics Carrie Vandervelde, this day was intended to open the students’ eyes about how to take care of themselves and ways to learn from inspiration.

To kick off the day, Ms. McCoy invited two guests from Luck Stone (a division of Luck Companies), which makes “igniting human potential” a corporate focus. Danielle Aaronson, Leadership Development Partner, and Katie Rolleri, Staff Accountant, talked with the freshmen about the concept of “filling up their buckets.” They said that filling up one’s bucket with positive input will influence health and well-being for a lifetime, whereas thriving on negatives takes a “drop” out of everyone’s bucket. When the guest speakers were encouraging the students to talk to people at School if they need positive reinforcement, they asked with whom they might talk if needed. Freshman Khaos Rannels answered, “Any person on this staff.”

After some group activities related to wellness, the freshmen heard from Dean of Students Gardner Mundy about following passions and the story of a man named Homer Hickam. Mr. Hickam is a West Virginia coal miner’s son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes; he eventually became a NASA engineer. His memoir, Rocket Boys, became the subject of the 1999 movie October Sky, clips of which were shown to the freshmen.

Bryan Lab Resident Scientist Chris Lundberg took the rocketry theme to the next level and worked with the students to build stomp rockets, with which they attempted to hit targets. Afterwards, the students were invited outside to watch Mr. Lundberg launch solid propellant model rockets. With cameras in hand, the students watched the rockets soar over 250 feet! Following the demonstration, the freshmen returned to the Upper School to have lunch and socialize with the eighth-grade students.

For pictures and video clips from Freshman Day, please see





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