Franklin Regional student finds meditation eases daily stresses

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Sometimes, Vishal Pandey just needs to retreat.

The pressures of school and teenage life can be pretty rough for the Franklin Regional eighth-grader. That's why he looked to his father, Vinod, for inspiration and took up meditation.

“It's been a life-changer for me,” Vishal said. “School can be pretty stressful, and I didn't want to deal with that.”

His dedication to meditation as a healthy habit has landed him a billboard. He was selected as one of 11 Westmoreland County middle-school students to appear on Excela Health billboards to promote healthy habits that contribute to a long and disease-free life.

His billboard will be erected in August along Route 22 near Delmont.

Vishal meditates each morning before he heads to school to help himself stay calm. He calls it “rehab for my mind” and often pairs it with Yoga.

It helps him get to know himself, Pandey said, and is something he really enjoys doing.

“I can go to my own place where I don't have to worry about a thing. I can feel like I can think straight,” Pandey said. “I feel more fearless, stronger and even happier there.”

This is the second year Franklin Regional has participated in the program, said middle school teacher Laura Yeager. Students from nine school districts – including Greater Latrobe, Greensburg-Salem, Norwin and Penn-Trafford – and Greensburg Central Catholic will appear on billboards throughout Westmoreland County.

Winners were announced at health-education assemblies at each school.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2365, or

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