Seventh grade can be a precarious time, but the Strive to Excel program is looking to make life a bit smoother.
The inaugural Teen Health Symposium will be held for the county's seventh-graders Saturday at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. The symposium will feature a morning of speakers and group sessions that touch on subjects including bullying, Facebook privacy, body changes and image, and proper nutrition.
Speakers range from high school students to medical professionals from the community. And for the kids who don't want to wake up early, the day begins with free doughnuts and ends with pizza and give-aways. Hilton Head Island Middle School students will get a pass on a homework assignment if they attend.
After an introductory session, students will be split into groups based on gender. Organizers expect about 200 students to attend.
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Founded at Hilton Head High, Strive to Excel has spread into middle and elementary schools in Bluffton and on Hilton Head. The program, headed by Hilton Head High football coach Tim Singleton, mentors students, helping to support them academically, financially and emotionally.
The idea for a symposium has been bounced around for several years, said Strive executive assistant Amy Metzger. With issues such as bullying and texting harassment gaining national attention, the groups decided to organize an event. Also, it helped that both Singleton and Metzger were experiencing the perils adolescents must face through their own middle school-age children.
"As we see kids at that age struggle, we thought it would be a good idea to do something that can help," Metzger said. "Everyone at that age is going through some of these issues."