Two days of workshops held at Wm. E. Hay Secondary Campus last week were designed to help students learn to “look below the water line.”
Challenge Days returned to the school for its grades 9 and 10 students, with Grade 9 taking part on Monday, Oct. 24 and Grade 10 the following day.
The event, which happens every other year, features a day of workshops and activities designed to help students understand that what they see in other people – students, teachers, family and the public – is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s a whole different reality for each individual “below the water line,” the part of the iceberg that isn’t seen but directly impacts the part of the person visible to others.
The goal of the workshop, according to teachers Janine Klevgaard and Audra Lotoski, is to help students be more compassionate and understanding while dealing with others.
“It’s really important in high school,” Lotoski explained. “Their image is so important to students.”
The workshops began with fun and games in the morning, designed to engage and energize students. But, as the day went on, though, the fun games slowly changed into more serious, introspective activities designed to draw students out of themselves and into looking at others in a new light, Lotoski explained.
“It challenges students to be a positive change for themselves and the community,” Klevgaard added.
Workshop facilitators Megan Arabian and Jake Cahill came from California to lead the workshop, along with volunteers, Klevgaard said. The day started with an information gathering for the adults before the students arrived.
By the end of the day, students were stepping up to share their stories on an open mic with everyone else, an effort that was both terrifying and empowering.
“To have those students go up and share their stories, reveal themselves that way, it’s great,” Lotoski added.
“This day couldn’t happen without support of community sponsors,” Klevgaard said. She specifically thanked Ramada, Sobeys, No Frills and McDonalds; the latter three who provided a hot lunch for students.