Irvington Wellness Center Opening Ceremony: A New Beginning


Irvington’s Principal Stan Hicks honors Fahria Khan with a bouquet of flowers.

The Irvington Wellness Center, located in room 49, reopened afterschool on Wednesday, October 12th, 2022, after recent renovations. From class to virtual site to murals, the Wellness Center holds a short but dense history worth celebrating.

Former assistant principal John Honerkamp first initiated the idea for a Wellness Center in 2018. When the Wellness Center was created, it was a small room that people went into to play games and relax, but was soon shut down when quarantine hit. During online schooling, a virtual wellness center was created, and featured collaborations with many organizations like Huma, a global health tech company which has a remote patient monitoring platform that includes therapy. Students had not only the opportunity to volunteer with the center and receive volunteer hours, but also to drop in for online counseling. 

The Wellness Center underwent its first big transformation when Mrs. Debbie Yang donated her former Chinese classroom, and Mrs. Chiu, who would have used that room, moved into the former computer room. This expanded the center from the entry room, usually stocked with tea, games, and other resources, and added a connected large sitting area. In the last school year, this area was largely used by the Peer Resource Club; the club had at least 3 counselors for 4 days of the week, who provided emotional support to students. From the spring of 2022 till its opening day, the Irvington Wellness Center held multiple workdays where students of the Irvington Community came together to make the room what it is today. Every part of the center, from its furniture, to it’s painted walls and murals, represent the work of students on campus. The rooms now spot cushioned black chairs, flower murals, and shelves filled with games all under an orange, blue, and green color scheme, which stood out at the ceremony.

The opening ceremony started off with a speech from Principal Hicks, in which he thanked Mrs. Priya Naidu, the professional interior designer who had come up with the floor planning and aesthetics for the Wellness Center. Then, he thanked Fahria Khan, the Parent Teacher Association President, who had earned a $5000 grant from Alameda County in 2022 for all of the FUSD high schools, of which at least $1600 went to Irvington.This donation allowed for the purchase of cushioned furniture, paint, shelves, and many other resources. Midway through the ceremony, Honerkamp dropped by, to both the surprise and joy of everyone there. Fremont Unified School District’s publicist, Laura Forrest, took pictures as Principal Hicks handed flowers to Naidu and Khan.

 The ceremony marks new beginnings for the school. Selina Song (12), one of the main initiators of the project, explained that the center “is a central place where anyone can come and feel free to express themselves.” For a school where students often lament about the aesthetic of the buildings, the center helps to provide a brighter corner.