Principal Tom Harmas reviews success of Culture of Care, plans for next year


Principal Tom Harmas talks to the organizers of the National School Walkout at CHS. After the mental health awareness campaign, Harmas said he hopes to see a continued focus on mental health at CHS.

Manahil Nadeem

This year CHS launched its first ever mental health awareness campaign, according to Principal Tom Harmas. Harmas said the program was very well received by students, teachers and other community members.

 “I thought the program and the entire initiative went very well. Just seeing the reaction of kids while petting therapy dogs and playing games really made this a worthwhile program for me. Listening to teachers talk about the Mindful Minutes and their positive feedback on it was just amazing,” Harmas said. “Even all our events that weren’t during the school day, for example, the panel with the parents, went very well which I was happy to see.

Harmas said he accredits the counseling center for the success of the initiative.

“The counselors worked really hard the entire week to make sure the program went smoothly, and they did a great job throughout the week,” Harmas said.

Harmas hopes the Culture of Care program is a long-term addition to CHS.

“We met with the entire Culture of Care committee a couple of weeks to talk about what went well and what we can change in the future years. Basically, we put together a three-year plan, so that Culture of Care is a constant at CHS,” Harmas said. “Today, we have a meeting with the steering committee, a group of people who will lead initiatives for mental health in the coming years, and I am really excited to hear what they have to say.

Student body president Ben Goldberg said he thought the program, in general, was a great addition to CHS is excited to see it expand in the coming years.

“At the last PAC meeting (Principal’s Advisory Council), Dr. Harmas basically shared his vision for Culture of Care. While I don’t know what is next for the program, I am happy to find out we will be continuing it,” Goldberg said.

Outside of Culture of Care, Harmas said he is already planning for the next school year, in terms of hiring the staff.

Harmas said, “Right now, I am talking to department chairs and looking at how many new teachers we will need for next year and what that is going to look like.