PRC School District Health Fair a success

Published 5:22 pm Friday, November 30, 2007

CARRIERE — The Pearl River Central School District Health Fair was a success Thursday night with more than 300 students, family members and teachers coming to the PRC High School Cafeteria to participate.

Cathy Perrot, a volunteer who was working the front desk and sign-in sheet, said that as of 7:45 p.m. slightly over 300 people had signed in at the fair.

“We’ve already counted 250 names, and there are at least another 50 names on this list,” Perrot said, indicating several sheets of the sign-in list.

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PRC school nurse Carla Penton said the event had gone very well, with a large turnout of vendors as well as of the students and their families.

“All the vendors are here, every last one of them. They’re all here and set up and going strong,” Penton said.

One of those vendors was the nursing class from Pearl River Community College, which was being supervised by Melinda Spiers, a nursing instructor at PRCC.

Spiers said 10 of the students from the nursing class at PRCC had rotated shifts throughout the evening to donate time to take the blood pressure of community members.

“They do this for extra practice and extra credit. It’s really good experience for the students. They have to earn community service hours, and this is one way of giving back to the community. People love to have their blood pressure taken, and if it’s high, we recommend they follow-up with their physicians. We have also been providing information to people about our program and answering any questions they may have about the nursing program at PRCC,” Spiers said.

Another vendor at the event was Dr. Ronald Kent, a pediatrician with Connections in Hattiesburg. Kent and his associates at Connections, which includes psychologists, a speech language pathologist and two teachers, specialize in helping children who have school and behavioral issues.

“We deal with children with school issues and help them to do better in the classroom. We also help families with different issues that may arise from having a child with school issues,” Kent said.

Kent said he has been practicing for more than 26 years, but only joined Connections about 18 months ago. He said the facility has a very good relationship with Pearl River County schools.

“We have several patients from this area, and we have also worked in the past to provide in-service seminars for the teachers. I’m here tonight to tell about our services and make sure the families are aware that we’re here if they need help in the area,” Kent said.

Bret Barras of Picayune Taekwondo said he was at the health fair to promote health and safety through his Taekwondo program.

“Martial arts is not just kicking and punching, but about developing the whole person. To master one’s self is tough. Everyone has their weaknesses. … The most powerful weapon you have on your body is your . … We promote being healthy and safe and using that brain power to our students,” Barras said.

Barras said his students range in age from four years old and up.

“I have students in their 50s. I can’t take anyone under four, but once they turn four, they’re welcome in my classes,” Barras said.

Barras said he had been giving demonstrations throughout the night to students, as well as answering questions about his program.

“(My assistant) has thrown me through the air several times, and the kids have loved to see that,” Barras said, laughing. “But hopefully they learned something also.”