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Do students become the change?

More participation means a greater chance for change

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

This saying has stuck with me since freshman year. Challenge Day has given me a new perspective on other people’s lives and the way we treat each other. Someone can be walking around with a lot on their plate, then maybe someone says something hurtful, they could potentially harm others or themselves. Challenge Day has taught me to treat others with the same respect that I would expect for myself.

There are many lessons that you can learn from this experience, and that is why I believe that everyone should get the chance to experience Challenge Day in their high school career.

Challenge Day is a day where roughly 100 students and 25 to 30 adults come together and help each other heal and have fun. This is a day where we can step out of our comfort zone, drop the waterline, and get real. When you first step into the gym, there are many adults and teen leaders greeting you with high fives, big smiles and lots of enthusiasm as you go awkwardly to a seat in a large circle in the center. The Challenge Day leaders then tell you to notice how you feel. Some people will feel really awkward, or some people will be excited.

The first part of the day, you will play icebreaker games, get to know people you may have never talked to before, and most importantly, have fun. You then come together to talk about the stereotypes of being a man and a woman. Like that men are not supposed to cry and ladies are not supposed to be tough. They call those stereotypes the “be a lady flower” and the “be a man box.”

The second part of the day you get into small “family” groups and have more serious conversations. In those small groups, you may feel awkward or like you don’t know anyone, but they have more fun icebreaker games or questions for the small group. At the end of the day, you will feel really close to the small group that you were placed in.

Finally, at the end of the day, the Challenge Day leaders open the microphone to people who want to say how they are going to make the change in their school. It is also open to people to make apologies to others in the room who they have hurt before, or even to give appreciation to someone in the room, such as a teacher or a student. Then the day ends with you signing a big sheet of paper vowing that you will make the change.

Sadly, the costs of Challenge Day can make it difficult to put on. The whole day can cost about up to $5,000. This day is not sponsored by the school. Fundraising efforts are led by former Holt teacher and current Hope Middle School Dean of Students Joann Weil, with support coming from the annual haunted house and the high school talent show, to name a few. If we had more donations or fundraising, there could be an opportunity to have more Challenge Days.

Challenge Day even used to be more than one day, but in the past couple years, one day was all that could be afforded. When we had two days, there was more of an effect ,since there were more students involved in it. With more involvement, there is a better impact on the school environment.

The school environment can’t change if only 150 kids out of the whole school participate. While Challenge Day does make an impact in the school environment, the effects of this day don’t last that long. Some people who participated in challenge day don’t put forth that change. I feel if we want to make a lasting effect on the school environment, more than one day of Challenge Day has to be offered.

Challenge Day is such an amazing experience and I wish more people had the chance to be a part of it. We have enough students who want to do Challenge Day to give it much more of an impact.

I am really thankful that I have gotten to experience this day throughout high school. Challenge Day has made such an impact on me, and I really hope others feel the same.


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