Big Walnut is growing, and along with the school district incoming high school freshman class sizes are increasing. Each year, incoming freshman students attend a Challenge Day session.
Challenge Day is a nationally recognized motivation program that brings students together in a series of close-knit, icebreaking group activities to break down walls created by bullying, teasing, clique problems, and other divisive and isolating activities.
In past years, with smaller class sizes, all freshmen students could be put through a Challenge Day session in two days, but Big Walnut High School English teacher and Student Council advisor Angie Stooksbury said two days of Challenge Day is a thing of the past. This year’s Freshmen Challenge Day was held on October 25, 26, and 27.
“Our three days of Challenge Day this year were amazing,” Stooksbury said. “I had 75 teen leaders participate along with just over 260 freshmen. There were also 30 adult volunteers present each day comprised of teachers, community members, and parents. It’s so wonderful to be a part of such a supportive community.”
Stooksbury said Challenge Day is an interactive workshop designed to help promote a positive atmosphere at Big Walnut High School.
“The nationally known program is a key part of the district’s anti-bullying stance,” Stooksbury said. “This is the ninth year that we have been able to bring this program to our students thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals.”
While Challenge Day has become a Big Walnut High School staple, Stooksbury said it’s a community-funded program with 100 percent of program costs coming from donations and fundraising efforts; no school district money is used to finance Challenge Day.
A three-day Challenge Day event costs in excess of $15,000, she said, including the cost of Challenge Day facilitators, airfare, hotel accommodations, and student lunches.
In addition to the cost of holding the three daylong sessions, Stooksbury said a host of community volunteers serve as adult facilitators assisting the Challenge Day Team Leaders.
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 >, or call Stooksbury at 740-965-3766 extension 1207.
For additional information about Challenge Day go to ChallengeDay.org.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.