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Zen Den Ribbon Cutting

(l-r): SCVTHS students Isabella Coppola of South Bound Brook, Vincent Pulelo of Belle Mead, SCVTHS Principal Hector Montes, Somerset County Vocational Technical Schools Superintendent Robert Presuto, SCVTHS students Alyssa Robinson of Somerset, Isabella Granzetto of Bound Brook, and Eduardo Melendez of Bedminster pose for a photo in front of the new Zen Den during the ribbon cutting ceremony

On Wednesday, April 26th, Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) held a ribbon-cutting event for the official opening of the new Zen Den. The Zen Den was created in hopes to reduce student stress and provide a resource area for mental health and wellness activities.  

Director of Linkages School Based Youth Services Program Elaine Howe spoke at the ribbon cutting stating, “As a resource for mental health and wellness, the Zen Den was created to provide a calming room for students when they are in distress. The Zen Den will also provide an area for wellness, meditation, and music.”

In order to create a calming environment within the Zen Den, SCVTHS Art Instructor Marlene Perchinske incorporated creating artwork for the room into her classroom activities. Perchinske’s students toured the room and took into consideration aspects of interior design, calming themes, and color schemes in their artwork for the Zen Den.

Mental Health Coordinator Dr. Cathy Bladt, who was instrumental in the creation of the Zen Den, added, "The Zen Den was created through the use of ESSER grant funding. The effort to create the space was very collaborative. Elaine Howe, Nzinga Basir, and I worked together throughout the entire process. After the furniture arrived, Marlene (Perchinske) graciously offered to have her students create the additional artwork needed for the room.  Our goal for the Zen Den is to create a safe, comfortable, and homey space for students."

For more information on this story, please contact James Strickhart at (908) 526-8900, x7169 or