The global coronavirus pandemic has certainly brought its share of stress to the world, disrupting many of the day-to-day activities often taken for granted.

That made the recent AIG Summer Seminar taught by Polk County Middle School’s Jeanne Ferran even more relevant. Ferran’s week-long session, made possible through a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, offered rising seventh-ninth graders an opportunity to learn about how the brain and body react to stress.

The Alleviating Anxiety AIG Summer Seminar used the the log cabin at Harmon Field as “base” and enjoyed a special session at Tryon Arts & Crafts School.

Students practiced grounding techniques and learned skills and coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety, including yoga, breathing techniques and art projects (clay pinch pots and tie-dyed T-shirts). Participants also learned about famous authors, writers, inventors, athletes, and other notable figures who overcame trauma to change the world.

Participants listened to educational podcasts using The Walking Classroom and also had a chance to explore the books on this year’s Battle of the Books list.