Time to Take on the Challenge

This is the logo of the Challenge Day program. Photo used under fair use.

This is the logo of the Challenge Day program. Photo used under fair use.

This is the logo of the Challenge Day program. Photo used under Fair Use.

September 28 was a rough day for Mercy.  The all-school assembly addressed abusive actions and hurt feelings that made everyone uncomfortable.  Staff members and students cried, and a somber mood seemed to hang over the school for much of the day.

The issues addressed in the assembly were absolutely valid concerns.  Administration has already acted towards solving the problems that were faced during Spirit Week.  Every Mercy student and staff member received the email about the new Policy on Interactions and Communications.  But is a policy on paper really enough to change the attitude of a community?

Enter Challenge Day, an anti-bullying workshop for middle and high school students.  According to the Challenge Day website, the six-and-a-half hour program is designed to “build connection and empathy” among participants through bonding activities.  The mission of Challenge Day is “to provide youth and their communities with experiential programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth, and full expression.”  This is exactly the bonding experience Mercy needs after the nasty Twitter incident of Spirit Week.

“I did Challenge Day when I was in middle school,” said junior Megan Bowers.  “It would be so cool if we did it at Mercy!”

I also participated in Challenge Day in seventh grade, and the experience was emotional and empowering.  Challenge Day works to break down the barriers and stereotypes that commonly exist between teenagers.  It does exactly what the assembly and policy are trying to accomplish, but it has a bonus: it directly involves the students.

When the administration puts something together, it makes an impact, but students may be less willing to comply.  If Mercy girls participate in fixing the problem, the change is lasting.

Challenge Day is the perfect opportunity for Mercy to recover from the ugliness of Spirit Week.  Hopefully Mercy will take advantage of this excellent experience.