Zen Den

The Zen Den at Appleton East High School will provide a safe space for East students to encourage them to focus on their mental health. Zen Den

Why Appleton East?
Twelve percent of high school students in the Fox Cities Region attempted suicide in the past year, and at Appleton East High School, with student enrollment at approximately 1,500, more than 1,049 counselor office visits were documented and the school experienced a fifteen percent increase in mental health hospitalizations in the 2018-19 school year alone.

These staggering statistics were eye-opening for a group of Leadership Fox Cities (a program of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce) participants this past year. Upon reviewing the Fox Cities Life Study, these individuals decided to focus their group project on targeting mental health issues among student populations. 

After learning from Appleton Area School District and the Appleton Education Foundation that there was a strong and urgent need to create a safe physical space inside Appleton East High School, where students could take time for a mental, emotional, or physical health break, these individuals set out to help create a space that would allow students the opportunity to relieve stress and mental fatigue. They partnered with school principals, guidance staff, the engineering services coordinator, and students to design a serene, warm, and welcoming space. 

Highlights of the projected $80,000 space include:

A green “living” wall that will provide privacy, in addition to other vegetation areas
Comfortable seating area for students, parents, and guests
New flooring with a more residential look as well a large, soft rug
Freshly painted pale blue walls
Projected calming images, soft music
Sources of Strength wall graphic


The group funded the project with $60,000 of in-kind donations. Local contractors/organizations signed on to support the project include Miron Construction Co., Inc., HJ Martin and Son, Inc., Suburban Electrical Engineers/Contractors, Inc., Appleton Lathing Corporation, Omni Glass & Paint, Discher Millwork, Furniture supplier, ISG, and J.J. Keller Foundation.

Members of the 2019 Leadership Fox Cities class who stewarded this project toward fruition include:
Jennifer Buelow Fischer, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
Tyler Claringbole, Herrling Clark Law Firm LTD
Eric Marcoe, Miron Construction Co., Inc.
Alyssa Matelski, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region
Bryan Mueller, Thrivent
Lucas Schultz, Bank First

In-Kind Donations
Miron Construction Co., Inc. (Virtual Construction, project management, demolition)
David G. Voss, Timothy Kippenhan, Cole Alsbach (project manager), Theresa Lehman, Kacie Hokanson (Virtual Construction), Chris Button (Superintendent) 
Appleton Lathing Corporation (Drywall and wall framing)
Timothy Van Wyk
Suburban Electrical Engineers/Contractors, Inc.  (electrical and lighting)
Dan Bender
Omni Glass & Paint (Wall and Lettering painting)
Rhonda Akers- Koxlien & David Miller
Discher Architectural Millwork  (Signage/Lettering)
John Discher, Tom Droese, and Marc Metoxen
H.J. Martin and Son (Flooring and Acoustical Ceilings)
David Martin and Roger Rohloff
Duet Resource Group Inc. (KI Furniture)
Kim Melka, Dan Mahlik, & Brad Timmerman
Catalpa Health (bean bag chairs, ball chair plus extras)
Andrea Verhasselt and Mary Downs
Werner Electric Supply
Don Garvey
Sherwin Williams (paint supplies)
Toby Eeg & Chris Carstens 

Monetary Donations
Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd.
Tyler Claringbole 
McCarty Law
Gregg Curry
Prospera Credit Union
Maria Young
Lynn Bruns and Chad Surprenant

Time/Labor Donations
Tony Monday & Bob Molitor 
Leadership Fox Cities a Program of Fox Cities Chamber – Amy Schanke (Director of Leadership Fox Cities)