Pekin Community High School held its eighth annual Wellness Fair Thursday in the school’s Dawson Hawkins Gymnasium. The event gave PCHS students an opportunity to interact with representatives from a wide variety of health and wellness services. 

“It’s something to show our students what support systems are available,” said Becky Fulkerson, PCHS physical education teacher and Wellness Fair coordinator. “There are a lot of opportunities in the world of health and wellness. Once students get out into the community, they may not be aware of some of the services that are out there. If they have an experience where they can meet and interact with people from the health and wellness community, they might be more willing to go out and seek those services.” 

Forty-one vendors attended the Wellness Fair to meet students, answer questions, provide interactive displays, and demonstrate health care techniques and equipment. Vendors ranged from the Pekin Police and Fire departments to the Center for Prevention of Abuse to the Tazwood Mental Health Center. The St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing in Peoria brought 30 of its students to the Wellness Fair. 

“I think events like this are important because they expose high school students to basic health care,” said Ibbie Voltz, St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing professional nurse recruiter. “They promote awareness of schools and jobs in the health care field. They also provide a chance for our students to educate high school students on different topics, and I get an opportunity to tell them how to get into our nursing school and about the different ways to apply to our program.”

Before attending the Wellness Fair, the College of Nursing contacted Pekin High School officials to ask which topics they felt students could use more information. 

 “We’d never been able to get anyone to come and talk about diabetes with our students, and we have a lot of students who are diabetic,” said Fulkerson. “So, I know the College of Nursing talked a lot about that with some of our students today.” 

According to Fulkerson, this year’s Wellness Fair was by far the school’s largest. Between 1,800 and 1,900 students attended the event.

“I felt like the fair was very informative,” said PCHS freshman Hannah Abernathy, 15. “We got to go around and learn about germs and things all around us that are keeping us healthy or making us sick. I found out a lot of stuff I didn’t know before, like how much sugar is in our drinks.”