During the April 22 Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce student recognition breakfast, Big Walnut High School student council adviser Angie Stooksbury introduced four high school students who spoke about what the “Challenge Day” program has meant to each of them personally.
Challenge Day is a nationally recognized motivation program that brings students together in a series of close-knit ice-breaking group activities to break down walls created by bullying, teasing, clique problems and other divisive and isolating activities.
During each daylong Challenge Day session, students in the high school’s incoming freshman class experience an intensive workshop.
During the chamber breakfast, students Sydney King, Madeleine Wecker, Daniel Zitello and Tricia Wilhelm each shared their own Challenge Day experiences, and how it changed their lives and the lives of students around them.
King said Challenge Day is only one day during the school year, but with an important impact on the entire student body.
“Challenge Day taught me how to recognize stereotypes and vulnerabilities, and that none of us are fighting our battles alone,” King said. “Challenge Day offers time for participants to share what they face on a daily basis. It’s one incredible, free-spirited, touching day.”
Stooksbury reminded chamber members that Challenge Day is expensive, and community funded, using no school district dollars.
“In many other central Ohio school districts, Challenge Day is optional,” Stooksbury said. “This has to be a day for the whole student body where everybody is equal. Challenge Day is something we need to provide our students without a fee.”
Stooksbury said fundraising is already underway for the 2016-17 Challenge Day.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093