To mitigate stress at school, FHS CAM Club springs up

  • Farragut High School Complimentary Alternative Medicine Club members Rachel Schram, left, and Sophie Dotson put together homemade bath salts for the Club’s group project. - Photos submitted

  • Lillian DeBari De Webster, FHS cafeteria worker, was just one of many support staff employees who were given gift baskets from FHS’s CAM Club near the end of the school year. - Photos submitted

A small Farragut High School club managed to make a big impact — even during a difficult COVID-19-centric year.

The Complementary Alternative Medicine Club was founded during the 2019-20 school year under the guidance of Shannon Exum, FHS Health and Exercise Science teacher and club sponsor, specifically to help mitigate student and staff stress levels.

According to its website, organizers acknowledged past “dark times” and “tragic events” at the school, which were primarily caused by stress.

“Through the use of CAM, we will do our utmost best to alleviate the negative stress here at our school so those tragic events will never repeat themselves,” its mission statement noted.

“Our mission is to help everyone at FHS feel cared for so they can live better and happier lives,” Exum added. “We offer a holistic approach to dealing with stress, but it all comes down to showing others how much they matter.”

She said the club began by offering an herbal tea cart and essential oils, but had to discontinue those options because of COVID.

“But the teachers and students really appreciated what we were doing,” Exum added.

Encouragement helped the group persevere and be creative going forward.

What its nearly two-dozen club members were able to provide during the last school year was support for each other and their fellow students and staff, albeit in more one-on-one circumstances.

Teas and essential oils were still offered, and a group project recognized FHS janitors and cafeteria workers near the end of the school year with gift bags of candles, teas, homemade bath salts and chocolate — along with a note that read, “CAM Club’s purpose is to give back to you. This appreciation only scratches the surface of all you have done for us. We are infinitely grateful.”

Rising senior Ali Bhimani and recent 2021 graduate Corina Coulter, Club founders, served as co-presidents during the past school year.

For Coulter, the experience has been “life changing.”

“I think our club has done a great job at outreach and being inclusive,” she said. “Even in just offering tea, it’s those little things that can make a big difference.

“Our club has really inspired me and helped me realize what I want to do is to help people,” Coulter added.