TUHSD Challenge Week inspires students to 'Be the Change'
Challenge Day has taken place in more than 2200 schools in the U.S. and ten other countries, going beyond traditional anti-bullying efforts to build empathy and connections among students while addressing common community issues. Students are immersed in activities designed to help them see that people are more alike than they are different.
Corona del Sol High School
At Corona del Sol High School, 130 students participated in Challenge Day. Afterward, they shared a feeling of empowerment to go out and make a positive difference. Staff members who participated indicated it made them more aware that students come from different environments and have varying social and emotional needs. The school's Challenge Week had a theme each day to promote school spirit and kindness. The themese were Be Aztec Strong, Be Together, Be Passionate, Be the Change, and Be Aware.
Corona del Sol students created a Be the Change club to build on the momentum of Challenge Day and this year it’s grown to 80 members. Mary Baker is the club’s sponsor.
“I love how I find myself sharing a lot of the main components or challenge day with so many people in my life,” she said. “It is really encouraging and powerful for staff and students alike!”
Mountain Pointe High School
Students enjoyed the Challenge Day experience and were motivated to share it with classmates who did not participate. DECA students created a wall of posters asking students, “What’s your reality?” They used Challenge Day’s iceberg analogy - what people tend to reveal about themselves and the stereotypes they face represent the top of the iceberg, which is above the water, but their real self is down below. Challenge Day encourages students to drop their waterlines.
McClintock High School
Marcos de Niza High School
Tempe High School
“The students organized a message campaign that week where they intended to spread the message that ‘you are wonderful and amazing just the way you are.’ From the program we also had a renewed interest in a Black Student Union club and we recently met with potential staff sponsors to get things started,” Cruz said.
Desert Vista High School
Desert Vista Assistant Principal Tomika Banks said her campus was greatly impacted by Challenge Day.
“Students really enjoyed themselves and found out that they had more similarities than differences. They want to continue the movement of being the change and are ready to make some serious moves on our campus,” she said. “The staff that participated learned more compassion and had a chance to look at students in a different way. Challenge day helped some realize just how much our kids go through,” said Banks.
While there are no students at the District Office, nearly 100 staff members gathered for a Challenge Day themed luncheon. They were shown videos of the Challenge Day events at the schools to give them a better understanding of what the students were experiencing on their campuses. District Office employees also participated in a few activities designed to create conversations and showcase the idea that they are more alike than different. Each was given a sticker to place on a map closest to the city in which they were born to demonstrate that while they all came from different places, with different upbringings and influences, today they are all here for one purpose, to serve the students of TUHSD.
The District Office staff also took a personality quiz to see which cartoon character they most closely identify with and then had fun learning which coworkers shared those same characteristics. Like the students, employees at the District Office were encouraged to carry on kindness activities and many followed up by giving out compliments, sending thank you notes and sharing inspirational messages.
December 13, 2016