PTO campaign helps students deal with stress

With Advanced Placement tests and final exams around the corner, Patch High School students were urged to laugh their test-associated anxieties away.

During the week of April 29 to May 3, the school hallways were plastered with posters extolling the benefits of laughter, while students sported bright green “Laugh More” buttons.

“We have over 600 individual exams being taken this year by approximately 250 students,” said Cami Baer, the PHS Parent Teacher Organization president.

“Typically, high school students are most stressed out the week before AP exams start. Hopefully, our “Laugh More, Stress Less” campaign got them into a more relaxed state of mind,” she said.

Even though teachers have been preparing students for the tests since the first day of class, it can still be a stressful time, according to AP Biology teacher Stephanie Payne. “Students are going to have to run hard up until the very end. But, we’ve dealt with pressure all year round,” she said of her class.

Senior Veronica Remsik said she was not stressed about her AP Biology test, but senior year in general. “Everything is so crazy and hectic. Things are happening so fast … it feels like yesterday that we just started senior year.” Expectations from teachers and parents add to the stress levels, she said.

The PTO partnered with the Josh Anderson Foundation and Active Minds to launch the week-long “Laugh More, Stress Less” initiative to educate high school students on the importance of stress management and the serious nature of anxiety disorders in the young adult population, PTO President Baer said.

“Kids don’t always know how to reach out. They don’t know who to talk to or where to go,” Baer said, adding that the campaign sought to reduce the stigma of seeking help.

It also tied into the PTO’s year-long campaign to raise the student population’s awareness in a variety of issues: suicide prevention, domestic violence, bully and cyberbully prevention, and drug and alcohol abuse.

High school is a crucial time to discuss these issues. “From ages 15-25, students establish habits and priorities for their daily lives and learn valuable coping skills that will assist them beyond high school,” Baer said.

“We have a population of students here who are presented with more challenges than normal — because they are overseas, because their parents are deployed. If they are suffering from depression or thinking about suicide, they need to know they can reach out,” she said.

For more information on the Josh Anderson Foundation, visit For information on Active Minds, visit