For the past nine years, all freshman have experienced a Challenge Day session, with older peers serving as local teen leaders and encouraging the newbies to become part of the Big Walnut High School Be The Change Team.
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 experience an intensive workshop designed to help them understand that we are all human beings and we need to celebrate our differences and, at the same time, embrace each other.
While Challenge Day has become a Big Walnut High School staple, English teacher and Student Council Advisor Angie Stooksbury said it’s a community-funded program, with 100 percent of costs coming from donations and fundraising efforts. No school district money is used to finance Challenge Day.
During past years, two days of Challenge Day were needed for incoming freshmen classes, but they are now a thing of the past.
“We will be having three days of Challenge Day every year now because of the larger class sizes and the growth that this community is experiencing,” Stooksbury said. “That means that even more money is needed to make Challenge Day happen for our students.
“We are a close knit community, and despite the residential growth the district is experiencing we’ve grown even closer,” Stooksbury continued. “New students entering the school district comment on our welcoming environment, because our students reach out to each other like no other school district in central Ohio.”
Stooksbury said Big Walnut High School’s 2016 Challenge Day session will be held at the Sunbury United Methodist Church all-purpose room on October 25, 26, and 27.
“I need adult Challenge Day volunteers to donate their time and spend the day with our students,” Stooksbury said. “Adults can volunteer one, two, or all three days depending on their availability.”
To be a Challenge Day volunteer, email Stooksbury at < AngieStooksbury@bwls.net >.
Stooksbury listed a host of perennial donors that help keep Challenge Day in the school district: Sunbury Chiropractic Clinic, Dr. Robert Houser and his wife Stacey, Pablum to Prom, Big Walnut Civic Association, Sunbury Lions Club, Sunbury Rotary Club, Sunbury Business Group, Big Walnut Teachers, Big Walnut Education Association, ACE Hardware and Wendy Weiler,
Nancy Garrabrant, Deb Jackson, Mary McRury, JamieSue Johnson, Ora Cagle, and several anonymous donors.
“We have a donor who will match all of the donations given each year, so please consider making a donation to Challenge Day,” Stooksbury added. “Every contribution, in any amount, makes a difference.”
For additional information about the Big Walnut High School Challenge Day initiative and how to contribute as an individual or as a corporate sponsor, contact Angie Stooksbury at < firstname.lastname@example.org >.
Checks made out to Big Walnut High School Challenge Day may also be mailed to Big Walnut Local School District Treasurer Terri Eyerman, 110 Tippett Court, Sunbury, OH 43074.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.