As you may have noticed, there are posters around the school indicating that Challenge Day is coming back to Andover High next week on October 15-17.

Last March was the first year that Andover High held this event thanks to Mrs. Kirby. She is one of four social workers at Andover High who works to provide support for students with emotional and social problems impacting their learning and provide them with the services and support that will help them succeed. She said that she was “struck by the impact it had on people” and she wanted the program here at our high school. Through her hard work and help from PACT and the ANDONA Society, she was able to finally bring this wonderful event to our school. Her goal in bringing this program to the school is “to make the school a more accepting and welcoming place and to create awareness that we are all more alike than different.”

Last year she tried to find students with a large sphere of influence, leadership qualities, or people with compelling personal stories. Many of those who were invited to participate had no idea what to expect. One of the students who was selected last year, Fatouma Kone, said that she “heard of the television show about challenge day and how people shared their experiences” but other than that she didn’t know what to expect. However she was told it was going to be emotional. She also said that “it was much different than the television show.”

Kone enjoyed Challenge Day so much that she is going to do it again this year, returning as a team leader. After her experience last year she said that it “made me look at people differently. I came in with a certain perception of others but I learned that many people are struggling with the same things.” She said that she highly recommends the people who are invited to participate because it is such a different experience and if you choose not to participate you will miss out on an amazing, eye-opening opportunity.

Unlike last year, the selection process will be random and there will be a limit of 100 new students per day with one adult for every four students. Also, a max of 25 students who participated last year will be team leaders. They will be helping out with activities and ensuring that everyone feels comfortable enough to participate.

If you enjoyed it last year, or if you are attending this year, make sure to join the “Be The Change Team” to get more buzz in the school and keep the momentum going. Mrs. Kirby and Mr. Rakouskas lead this club and the meetings are every Wednesday in room 370.  If you have any additional questions on Challenge Day, be sure to check out their website at www.challengeday.org.

By Jillian Gamache