Many teens - both girls and boys - went home with a new hairstyle Saturday, Feb. 2, after learning about various aspects of health and wellness at their annual Teen Health Fair at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center in Hannibal, Mo. Waylon Hahon's spiked hair added to his height.
Michaela Weathers said getting her hair done was the most fun thing, along with getting a ring decorated with a real flower. Her friend, Jade Ledbetter, said one of her best things was getting her eyes tested, adding her eyes were OK.
The students were doing a scavenger hunt among the numerous booths, as they learned the effects of using illegal drugs, driving while intoxicated and other choices they will be making as they mature.
Dr. Sandra Ahlum, leader of the sponsoring Community Health Assistance Resource Team (CHART) Teen Task Force, reported the approximately 300 teens and 200 adults present came from several schools. Students were bused from Highland, Clark County, Canton, Louisiana, Marion County and Palmyra schools this year, Ahlum said, and the good weather helped make this possible.
Each year new booths are added to this annual health fair. One was the Girl Scouts. Also this year the Kroc Center in Quincy, Ill., was represented. At this booth, teens were doing various exercises and even challenging the personnel to compete with them in Indian wrestling. Others were doing push-ups, such as Brittany Humphrey and Alexa Gillum.
Skin cancer screening also was being offered for the first time by the Blessing Cancer Center, Ahlum noted. The vision screening also was new.
Physical fitness was featured at the Healthcare USA booth, where Renee Hendrickson explained this agency based in Jefferson City is a Medicaid plan affiliated with the State of Missouri.
Many prizes had been donated by area merchants, Ahlum said. They were won in drawings.
Details about the services offered by various agencies were offered. Jennifer House, health and nutrition administrator with the Early Head Start program in the eight counties served by the Douglass Community Services, was explaining how important its services are to new mothers, including a prenatal program.
The teens were busy dancing when not visiting booths or eating pizza and apples. After an energetic dance, Katie LaRocca and Kalli Gordanier of Palmyra Middle School explained both had won prizes.
Later a large group doing a fast dance included Samantha Diamond, Abigail Echternacht, Roxanne Tobias and Jade Johnson.
Some of the students were already learning about health by spending the weekend taking care of dolls representing newborns. October Crockett, carrying her doll, explained she was assigned her "baby" in her child development class at Hannibal High School.
See photo gallery for more pictures.