Challenging the views of teens in a single day |

Challenging the views of teens in a single day

At 8:30 on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 7, I walked into a room packed with 105 teen-agers – 99 percent of whom I had never met in my life. Looking around the wide circle for an empty seat, I spotted one exactly opposite me, across the circle of kids. Frantically searching for a seat closer to where I stood, I realized the only seat available to me was that one on the other side of the room. Taking a deep breath, I walked directly through the middle of the circle. To say that I felt nervous would be like saying Lake Tahoe is a puddle. But that’s what the day was about. Being really nervous, being uncomfortable, and breaking out of your comfort zone.

This was Challenge Day.

Challenge Day is a national program for high schoolers that began in 1987. It is a revolutionary day of leadership and fun that changes the way you see yourself and the people around you. Through a variety of trust-building activities, games and presentations, you learn how to help put an end to the teasing, alienation, and violence that, sadly, is part of the everyday high school experience for students and their families.

Almost two months after attending Challenge Day, the experience is still fresh in my mind. On that sunny Tuesday in October all present learned how to truly express their feelings. I believe that Challenge Day should be made an annual event. It does exactly what the name suggests. It challenges us to open our eyes. It releases us from the rules of society, and we are able to be ourselves, not the phony faades we’re all accustomed to hiding behind. President John F. Kennedy hit Challenge Day’s aim dead on when he said “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s future, and we are all mortal.”

Rose Munday is a student at Forest Charter School.

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