In honor of World Mental Health Day on October 10, guest speaker Mr. Chris Okoye ‘14, Social Studies Teacher and Freshman Moderator Mr. Ben Herman ‘98, and Athletic Director Mr. Aaron Babicz ‘93 spoke to students during homeroom assemblies on their personal journeys in mental wellness.
“You have a support system here,” said Mr. Okoye. “Use it. Open up and be vulnerable”. After graduating from Catholic Central, Mr. Okoye played defensive tackle for Ferris State University before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL. Speaking to students, he stressed the importance of cultivating emotional intelligence. “Expressing your emotions is cool. It’s okay to stand up and say ‘hey, I’m dealing with something’,” Mr. Okoye emphasized.
Student Wellness Counselor Mrs. Jodi Siberski provided practical ideas students can take in discussing mental health with their parents, affirming that while it may seem difficult to do, it is a worthwhile step. Mrs. Siberski holds her master’s degree in counseling from Oakland University and joined Catholic Central in February 2020, after several years working in private practice. In her role, Mrs. Siberski is available to students looking for someone to talk with, recognizing each student’s unique strengths and challenges, interests, ideas, and goals.
“You’re not showing any signs of weakness by seeking help,” Mr. Herman assured students. “You’re showing strength in being self-aware,” he said.
To close out the assembly, Mr. Babicz drove home to students the value of loving oneself and loving their fellow classmates. “You can’t open your heart to someone else if you don’t love yourself first,” he said.
Today’s homeroom assemblies were a joint initiative between Student Wellness and Diversity & Equity at Catholic Central and are part of our ongoing GDK Program, where students have the opportunity to dive into what it means to be a man of Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge.