A small building tucked away on the Bryant Elementary campus is unknown by most students in the district. But while many students don’t know the Hornet Health Center exists, senior Brooklyn Waller is a regular visitor there and hopes to change that.
In 2019, Waller applied to be a member of the national school-based health alliance Youth Advisory Council (YAC),made up of eight students around the country who help each other make a difference in citizens’ health in their cities. Waller was accepted into the council and has been working with them ever since.
“We meet bi-weekly to discuss matters of health care,” Waller said.
As soon as Waller found out that she was accepted, she headed to Washington, D.C. for a summer event to discuss the health issues of her state with the other seven members of the group.
As she listened to what was happening in other states, she realized how crucial the Hornet Health Center is to Bryant students and the community.
“I didn’t know what the Hornet Health Center could do until I got in the YAC,” Waller said. “I didn’t know all the resources our Hornet Health Center provided.”
Hornet Health Center Coordinator Angela Lasiter has helped Waller make the center known to the public. While the center has already received a grant and is working on getting another, many citizens and students of Bryant have no idea what is going on in building 35.
“We have a pediatrician that comes here Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Lasiter said. “We have a dentist here on Tuesdays, they are based out of Benton. We also have an eye doctor that comes here on Wednesdays.”
The Center has been around for five years and is still growing, and having health centers at schools is something new that schools are trying all over the nation.
“[School] health centers are pretty new around the nation over the last 10 years or so,” Lasiter said. “There are about 2700 in the nation, and we have about 37 in Arkansas. Bryant is one of the best in the state.”
While the Center is located nearest to Bryant Elementary and Bryant Middle School, it is meant for any student in the entire Bryant district.
“We have 12 schools in the district, and absenteeism is one of the biggest issues at the schools,” Lasiter said. “So usually, if a child would have a 9 o’clock appointment, their parents may not bring them back, and if they do, you miss two to three class periods. If you make an appointment here, I get you out of class, and it takes an hour at most, and then we send you back to class. No tardy and no absence. That makes sure we have no absenteeism, and increases our grade as a school and improves the whole Bryant School District.”
Lasiter and Waller hope their efforts will allow the Hornet Health Center to be used to great advantage by students and parents.
“Students need to know that they have this resource they can use any time,” Waller said. “To be able to be successful in school, students need their first needs met, and that is what the Hornet Health Center provides.”
To schedule a health check up, an eye exam or a dentist appointment students or parents can call (501) 653-5040. All insurance is accepted.