Challenge Day Fails to Unite Students

Jessica Coleman

Adolescence can be challenging. Balancing academic, extra-curricular activities and a social life is nearly impossible. Challenge Day, a program that Miramonte ran the past couple of years, helps to overcome challenges by bringing a community together.

While the initial impact of the program was successful in connecting Miramonte students, it faded quickly. The outcome of Challenge Day did not match the expense; it has already been forgotten, and our money lost with it. While it was not wise to spend thousands of dollars on a single program heading into this economic downturn, it touched many people. Miramonte should make the best of it by following up on Challenge Day.

We do not have a vast amount of money to spend on another Challenge Day, but we should make efforts to rekindle the spark it ignited in the community. The “Be The Change” club exists, but it is going to take the entire school to revive the Challenge Day spirit.

The majority of the Miramonte population became friendlier and more open after Challenge Day, but the program lacks a plan for sustaining the positive changes. Students fell into old habits and the newfound community attitude faded. After all the truths told, apologies made, and tears shed, students internalized their emotions once again. Challenge Day failed to unite Miramonte.

Prior to Challenge Day, students often complained about the judgmental and gossipy tendencies of the Orinda community. Challenge day offered a fresh start. For many participants, the Challenge Day experience included shedding some tears and watching classmates speak up for the first time. Students who have grown up around each other finally showed their “real” selves.

“It let me release stuff that I usually kept in, and it made a difference when I let other people know and they wanted to help,” said junior Roy Erez.

Everyone takes something different from Challenge Day. Some students let out their emotions, others told secrets, and some apologized for past wrongs. Watching their peers release their hidden challenges was eye opening for those that were not as open with their emotions. Emotions were externalized in a safe environment where it was acceptable to share anything.

Challenge Day gave students the opportunity to be honest about their lives, and clarify rumors that have been spread in our tightly knit community.

“I felt like I was diving into a clear lake, and when I got to the bottom I opened my eyes and I could see everything so clearly,” said senior Michael Pitt.

Miramonte takes pride in our student body’s ability to balance academics, extra-curricular activities, and family life. If we focus on bonding within our community, we can reach great heights. In order to break through walls built long before us, we must embrace change. These walls created prejudices and stereotypes which Miramonte should try to discard.

Some of the Miramonte population criticized Challenge Day, claiming it to be ineffective. In truth, the program initially sparked understanding between students, but it disappeared. Students fear unpopularity. They also fear change. If the Miramonte community can embrace maturity and self-respect, it may be possible to recreate the Challenge Day atmosphere. We were privileged to experience Challenge Day’s magic, even if only for a moment. If we remain static and unchanged, we may lose out on a deeper comprehension of our peers and ourselves. Take a deep breath, smile, and jump. The rest is out in front of you.