Diamond Bar High School English teacher Denise Mesdjian will be taking up the mantle from previous Wellness Center adviser and founder Sandy Davis, who retired last summer.
Since the beginning of campus closures, athletic director and peer counseling instructor Albert Lim has been providing guidance for the center, acting as an interim adviser. The team, with his assistance, has formulated events and activities such as virtual Wellness Wednesdays, which have become one of the group’s main operations during distance learning.
Mesdjian, who will officially become the Wellness adviser in August, said she hopes to continue the Wellness Center’s momentum during this transition in leadership.
In addition to maintaining virtual activities, Mesdjian also hopes to streamline logistics and update existing events to better suit DBHS students.
“One of my short-term goals for the Wellness Center is to work with the Wellness Team to create a standardized protocol for when students can visit the Wellness Center,” Mesdjian said via email. “One of my long-term goals is to work with the Wellness Team and the peer counselors to reimagine DB Forum to create a more updated/relevant curriculum that will help participants to emerge feeling energized and equipped with strategies to tackle their challenges head-on.”
Mesdjian hopes to help the Wellness Center become more integrated with the administration in the future.
“Since our school shut down, the administrators, GLC’s and school psychologists had an opportunity to rethink how the Wellness Center could operate,” she said. “Their thought was that the Wellness Center should not be an entity in and of itself, but one piece of the overall puzzle that would help our students to be their best and to achieve their goals.”
The teacher hopes to lead the Wellness Center in creating a comprehensive approach to wellness for students. Major areas of focus currently include the DB Forum, student appointments for the Wellness Center and expanded outreach.
“[I hope] to work with the Wellness Team and the peer counselors to design curriculum that the peer counselors could use in teachers’ classrooms upon the teacher’s request,” Mesdjian said. “Topics could range from overcoming anxiety to choosing between two difficult options.”
Regardless of this new responsibility, Mesdjian will continue teaching English while she leads the Wellness Center.
“When I’m not in the Wellness Center, I’ll be caring for my English students as I’ve been doing for the past 27 years,” Mesdjian said. “[Working] in the Wellness Center will allow me to expand my educational philosophy beyond the four walls of my own classroom.”
The Wellness Team has expressed optimism for the changes Mesdjian will bring and is assisting her with the transition process.
“I’m really excited to see where the future of wellness goes with Mrs. Mesdjian,” Wellness Consultant senior AJ Cembrano said. “The Wellness Consultants and I are very open-minded with the change and are doing everything we can to set her up for success.”