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Take the Challenge

Sam Calto, Staff Writer

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It’s an early morning and you’re at school, but today’s no normal day. It’s 8:00 a.m but you’re not in class, you’re in the Big Gym. It’s cold, large, and slightly intimidating, but you’re not alone. You’re standing with about 100 of your sophomore peers. Some teachers are also along for the ride, standing on the sidelines. There’s some tension in the room, since everyone is anticipating the day, but it settles as everyone prepares for the challenges.

In a way, Challenge Day is the culminating event of Advisory. The purpose of Challenge Day is to challenge yourself, and question yourself. Everyone has problems that they have to deal with, whether they show them or not. Challenge Day helps prove that your friends, your enemies, even the people you don’t know, are individuals with their own personalities, their own emotions, and their own problems. You might be surprised to find that the shy kid in the corner of the classroom talks a lot more when someone notices them, or the popular kid who looks perfect goes home everyday to a broken home. Everyone has their quirks, and everyone deals with something new. People are individuals and cannot be judged by their covers.

Unfortunately, this point is lost for some, who find Challenge Day to be a waste of time. Challenge Day is by no means a perfect event. Does it have its problems? Yes. Challenge Day explicitly pushes its message–some would say too far. To present its point, students are organized into groups, where activities and targeted discussions take place. For some, this is too focused. A structured event always has a faint sense of inauthenticity. This is too great for some. Forcing the point too far, for some, makes the day ineffective. It’s a sad fact that the point is wasted on some students. Instead of learning, some of those students squander the day.

Other complaints are valid. Some people have more interesting stories to tell and draw the attention away from other members, who are neglected. Some people who are there just don’t participate and fail to contribute. This counteracts the whole point of Challenge Day itself. Others nitpick that the lunch period is too short and others just don’t feel anything. All of these complaints are valid.

Despite its shortcomings, an event like Challenge Day is important to have. Not everyone is aware of the lives of their peers. School is a highly competitive place, mentally and emotionally. Even within the united community of North, disconnections do exist. Students are almost certainly not fully emotionally mature, and it takes an impactful event to reveal that.

Sophomores especially should keep this in mind. Though responsibilities are increasing, and especially the workload, sophomores are still comparatively young, and a far way from all of the responsibilities adulthood entails. It is not too late to correct destructive behavior or provide for missing information. The road to adulthood is a growth process, which makes Challenge Day all the more suited for turning the students of today into the humans of tomorrow.

A change in perspective is all Challenge Day asks for. Maybe a smile that would have never been shown, a word that would not have been said, a friend made that otherwise would have been a stranger. Challenge Day doesn’t ask for much at all. It asks students to be just a bit more open, a small change everyone can contribute to. Big change comes from small offerings.

A goal of school is not just to educate, but to improve. This includes the social aspects of life. School is probably the most influential force for students besides parents. It is a school’s goal to improve and better its attendees. This is why the administration’s choice to host Challenge Day is obvious. If only one student changes their behavior, it betters the community.

Teachers, too, are not oblivious to this fact. Teachers chose their occupation so they could help students grow, and this event is no exception. Including teachers in the processions of Challenge Day allows teachers to express their points and bond with their students, something very helpful for both parties. Connections are powerful, but students often neglect their teachers, or only treat them as superiors who should not be involved outside pure education. Through Challenge Day, teachers can prove that they are also individuals with their own concerns.

Though more emphasis is needed on continuing the spirit of Challenge Day throughout the school year, a reminder never hurts. Sometimes just knowing that there are ways to be a kinder person improves behavior. Is Challenge Day worth the effort? At the end of the day, not everyone will be crying, and not everyone will have changed. But for the students who care, it makes a great difference.

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