PARIS – Hundreds of children at the Oxford Hills Middle School learned new skills in class Friday ranging from a yoga pose to self-defense methods.

The second annual middle school wellness day was developed to provide an inspirational, educational and experiential day for students and staff at the middle school.

“We wanted to plug into the community and see what we could do,” explained Sarah Shepley of the Healthy Oxford Hills Coalition.

“It was really just women in the community who wanted to make change,” said Shepley, who along with Katey Branch, organized the event.

The all-day event actually started Thursday night with a presentation of a student film about prescription drug abuse by students. The film was made by a student group in the Biddeford/Saco area and was shown to the public at the high school.

On Friday, the event continued with the keynote speech by Miss Maine Karissa Staples, who spoke on America’s “five promises:” caring adults, safe places, healthy starts, effective education and giving back to the community and ended with a media show by Bill Yeo of Durham, who climbed much of 29,000-foot Mount Everest last May.

Between those two events were a multitude of demonstrations for the students ranging from yoga to energize and relax, Jamaican Hill dance and egg dying, and workshops on self-defense, bullying and personal safety and youth empowerment.

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