Be The Change!
Courtney Collier- December 20, 2011
MTV's hit show "If You Really Knew Me" comes to Grandview to bring students together.
If you were asked to fill in the blank after given the question, “If you really knew me…” what would you say? Would you give a general summary of yourself, or would you dig deeper into the secrets of what your life is really like? Could you do it?
This year on November 29th, MTV’s hit show “If You Really Knew Me” came to Grandview Heights High School looking to bring students together, as well as try to get everybody to step a little bit outside of their comfort zone.
The teachers that made Challenge Day possible were Erin Engle, Kevin McCarthy, and Jill McNaughton, Kelly Anders, and Tammy Seagraves. The adult leaders said that the reason they wanted the show to come to the high school was because Grandview was “ready for a change!”
What exactly went on at Challenge Day, you ask? Here’s how it started: The students that participated joined in the breezeway, signed in, and got nametags. When the leaders inside the gym were ready, the doors opened – filling the breezeway with the loud roar of applause, and LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem.
Freshman, Sophia Lombardo said, “I was a bit thrown off by the high-five tunnel that the teachers and leaders made for us, but I couldn’t help but smile and laugh a little bit.” When everybody had a seat, the leaders introduced themselves. Our school was assigned Ron and Angela. “They were really nice. I liked them a lot.” Said participating junior, Connor Skeen.
After introductions came the icebreakers. The students played a variety of games to get out of their comfort zone to meet some new people. One of the games involved a back to back dance party. Ron would yell something over the microphone such as “Find a partner who you don’t really know that is wearing…blue!” Everybody would proceed to find a partner, and then things got awkward.
The students were told to link arms with their partner back to back and dance to whatever song was playing. After the song was over, they would be given a question to talk about with their partner. This repeated three or four times.
Some other icebreakers and games included the following: I Love My Neighbor, The Lap Game, Let’s Have a Rodeo, Share Your Dreams, Stationary Volleyball, and more. Once the ice was broken and students and teachers started to feel more comfortable with each other, they formed into family groups.
The staff was divided up and assigned a number, and so was each student. Each number formed a group of five students and one adult. Each group was given a few minutes for introductions allowing them time to get to know one another as well. Then the big statement was given. Each student was to finish the line, “If you really knew me…”
Some students just gave some background information, but others went further, much further. This is exactly what Challenge Day is all about, according to the leaders. There were some groups that didn’t get too deep the first time around, but a lot of the other groups had because students were already beginning to cry.
After the first family group session was over, it was time for everybody to have lunch. We were told to sit with our family groups so we could connect even more. Then once everybody was finished up eating, we heard the life stories of our leaders, Angela and Ron.
“Their stories were so inspiring.” Said participating junior, Kelsey Senter. After hearing the verbal abuse and put downs that Angela went through, and hearing Ron’s story about his mother dying and his son having hatred for him, students were ready to tell their own stories. This time there was no holding back.
The groups reassembled, and then the tears started streaming. There were stories that were so personal, stories that were painful to hear, and stories that were completely unexpected from fellow classmates.
If that wasn’t enough, the next activity was even more difficult. It was called “Cross the Line” which you really had to be comfortable with the people around you to be able to want to participate.
“Cross the Line” went like this: The gym was divided by a white line and everybody would stand on one side of it. The leader Angela would then read a question off of a piece of paper. If the question asked pertained to you, you were asked to cross the line. This took a lot of courage to do.
Some of the questions asked were so personal, and it was very surprising to see so many people that you wouldn’t expect cross that line. It brought all of us together, to see what each other’s lives are really like, and to know that everybody is there for each other. It’s just a sign of reassurance that there are people out there for you, and that they want to be there to catch you when you fall.
A couple of weeks after Challenge Day, the participating students were asked to fill out a questionnaire about what they thought about Challenge day, and if they thought anything had changed as a result of it. Unfortunately, the majority of the students who took this survey said that they have seen little to no changes, but that they expected that anyways.
Challenge Day will be coming back to Grandview again, this time with different leaders, different adult volunteers, and even different games and icebreakers. Who knows? Maybe next time things really will change.
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