Monday, August 29, 2016

Listen Live! // Continuing what Chris Charron Built

Last Friday marked the beginning of the 2016 high school football season across the state. If you had a chance to be at Knights Stadium, it was an electric environment and an entertaining game to watch. We live streamed the game on our new Listen Live! website: Meridix, where you can listen to all of the Knights' football games this season as the official "home and away voice of the Knights."

If you've been a listener to the Knights online, this year will sadly sound different. The Woodward Academy family lost one of its biggest fans and supporters last March, when Chris "Megaphone" Charron, unexpectedly past away. He was the "voice" of the Knights since the beginning of our football program, and is the sole reason why we are able to continue to provide this amazing service this year. In an act generosity, when he passed away, his wife donated much of the audio equipment to Woodward Academy, and it is that equipment that will bring you all of our games.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Exec Leadership

Nacona was recently given the distinct honor of being a Lifetime Executive Knight, an honor that few Woodward Academy students receive. But what does this mean? On the surface, it means that he is one of only 8 students to have received this honor since 2012 when the title was first introduced. The process to become a Lifetime Exec is not concrete and does not include a checklist of skills that can be marked off. Each recipient was chosen because they stood above the rest of the student population. The vagueness and ambiguity of this honor is what makes it special and distinct, and that much more meaningful to each Knight who receives it.

Each Lifetime Exec started the same way on campus: as a new peer who didn't have a full understanding of the Woodward Academy way. Over the course of their stay on campus, they picked up on the student culture, learned from their student leaders, and formed their own leadership style. All of these Execs took on a mentoring role on their dorms, and spoke their mind and offered feedback to other student leaders (some who they may have befriended). They had to be the bearer of bad news at times, but were also the beneficiary of Knights privileges. Their role shifted with the pulse of campus, but they knew that and always accepted the challenge because it was in them to lead… and they embraced it.

The honor is a reflection of what they did on campus. I would be remiss to say that receiving the Lifetime Executive Knight honor is a guarantee for success. It is not. As a school, we equipped these students to distinguish themselves as leaders amongst their peers, and then they leave and put into practice what they have learned. Some check in periodically to offer updates on how they are doing. One is entering his junior year at college on the east coast, doing exceptionally well. Another I had the benefit of running into at Target of all places. As we were both getting household essentials, we locked eyes at the same time, but he was the first to draw his hand for a gentleman's handshake. We exchanged pleasantries, he introduced me to his girlfriend, and assured me he was doing well. He was getting stuff for his apartment. After two minutes, we parted ways and I left knowing he was still a Knight inside. It should not have surprised me, he is a Lifetime Executive Knight after all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Knight's Mind Training // Video

A significant number of students at Woodward Academy have been identified as having high levels of emotional and behavioral dysregulation. This refers to the emotional and behavioral responses that fall outside of the accepted social norms. This results in entrenched patterns of maladaptive and anti-social behavior. Severe and explosive anger, physical, verbal, and sexual aggression, opposition and defiance, anxiety, and depression / suicidality are all indicators of this dysregulation. The disruptive behaviors of these types of students present an ongoing challenge and frustration.
The current gold-standard of care and treatment for this is an approach known as dialectical behavior therapy. By incorporating this approach while also drawing upon other frameworks such as acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, somatic experiencing, and interpersonal neurobiology, the Knight’s Mind Training (KMT) program represents an array of evidence-based interventions which have been shown to be very effective in groups with teens.
That is a very clinical explanation for KMT that also requires a practical application. So what is Knight’s Mind Training? Chris Johnson, the Clinical Therapist behind the KMT program explains that “just as we do PT (physical training), we must also train our minds,” and every day is training day. As a huge advocate for mindfulness training, he believes that every person, not just students, would benefit from this program.
Our bodies carry stress and we start to feel overwhelmed in certain situations. Then our minds start to say ‘I don’t like this feeling’ and we begin assigning reasons for why we feel that way. “I’m overwhelmed, I can’t handle it. I’m overwhelmed, it’s that person’s fault. I’m overwhelmed, I’m so awful. And all of these stories are heaping more suffering and pain on top of the pain that is already there.” KMT helps individuals “pay attention to the present moment... without judgement” so that they can have a clear mind with what is right in front of them.

Chris Johnson, MS - Clinical Therapist
With 15 years of experience in the counseling field, Chris has developed a unique way to reach adolescents in Knight’s Mind Training. With a degree in Psychology from Central College, a Masters of Mental Health Counseling degree from Drake University, and having been a Knight for 6 years, he developed this curriculum in 2013. His own mindfulness studies include practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and working toward a certificate in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Teens.