Herricks Middle School eight graders kicked off November by joining together with classmates and faculty for a special program that shows them the power of inclusivity, acceptance and honesty.
Challenge Day is a daylong experiential workshop that allows our students to experience belonging, connect across lines of difference and help create the culture THEY want at school.
We asked three eight graders who had just participated in the program to sum up their experience and they had a lot to say!
Sam: “I had no idea what to expect on Challenge Day and was very surprised! It started off fun with lots of games and high-fives, but after lunch it got serious and emotional. I think the “cross the line” activity has the most effect on all of us. It showed that you can’t really tell what other people are going though by looking at them and changed my perspective on how people should be treated. It was amazing to learn about other students and realize that you shouldn’t judge people and it really opened people up to being honest and sharing their feelings. The next day I saw a student ask another student if they needed help and I really think it was a special moment that was the result of Challenge Day.”
Gabby: “I had heard about Challenge Day from older students and teachers, so I thought I was prepared, but it was much more eye opening that I expected. It was interesting to bond with other students and see how people react in different situations. I never realized that everyone has so much going on in their lives, everyone has a story. I learned that it’s important not to judge people, but to understand that they might be going through something and that even the slightest thing could make them feel worse. Words really do affect people and we all need to be more friendly and nice to each other. I also think this will help us all be a little less self-conscious. Challenge Day was a really good experience for everyone.”
Nora: “I was surprised to find out that some of my close friends were going through challenges that they hadn’t shared before and it started to make sense to me why people keep their feelings to themselves. As eighth graders, we spend so much time joking around, but this allowed us to open up and experience seriousness and reality. I think we all gained a level of maturity and understanding, especially about being overly judgemental. Everyone had the feeling of belonging and being connected and came back to school the next day with a better outlook. This is important because it helps us be better prepared emotionally for high school next year. If we start to feel overwhelmed or depressed, there is always someone to talk to. I was also amazed to see teachers participating and showing their human side. It made me realize that they are not just teachers, but people with lives and problems. Challenge Day was an experience I will never forget.”