Challenge Day Would Bring Needed Connection to Miramonte Students

Sommar Veverka, Staff Writer

After all of the recent incidents among the Miramonte student body, it has evident that we are disconnected. Miramonte needs to bring back Challenge Day.  The mission of the day is to provide youth and their community’s incentive to connect and love one another through this program. Five years ago, Miramonte used to host Challenge Day; however, we no longer have it.

The Miramonte student body is very disconnected.  Our cliques, reputation, and academics seclude us.  Often, we are known by what we do rather than who we are as people. Of course, there will always be cliques, mean girls, jocks and your usual stereotypical groups in high school, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have a chance to get to know one another better. Challenge day would allow us to get to know different peers from all grades and get to know our teachers better as well. Although it’s hard and takes effort to make new relationships, it’s important to have relationships outside your normal social circle. You might find out that you have more things in common with them than you realized.

There is a lack of community at Miramonte, especially within each grade. Everyone has their cliques established and, although some of us do take the time and effort to get to know other people outside our groups, it’s not very common.  You have the water polo cult, a team we all mock because we are jealous of their incredible bond that we will never get to experience because they are beyond intimidating. They are not alone. There are also the public speakers, a class that isn’t ordinary. Everyone is highly intellectual and welcoming to students in the class, but they still have their inner circle because many compete together at competitions outside of school. These aren’t the only groups within the school that form their own social cliques but their closeness is very visible.  All these groups contribute so much to Miramonte and strengthen the brand of the school. Miramonte has amazing programs, yet they also can have a negative effect toward contributing to the exclusivity of the school community. It’s logical that social groups are formed with people who have similar interests, but groups are so concrete that people often find it weird for others to hang out with people outside their typical friend group.

Hosting a Challenge Day would allow us to break down barriers and bring the student body closer.  However, it shouldn’t just be a day where students. There is teachers open up about their hardships and challenges and then simply go back to school the next day pretending nothing happened. That ruins the point of having a Challenge Day, which was an issue Miramonte had to deal with when they hosted the Day in previous years. Instead of it being a one day event, Challenge Day could continue throughout the year by having small group meetups and other activities through the school that will allow everyone to stay connected rather than having a “one and done” day.  Although people are concerned about having teachers stimulate the conversations and be involved in them, it makes the day and the activities more personal and fulfilling.  There would be no point in hosting a Challenge Day if the relationships people built that day weren’t continued. Although many students do and can continue those friendships on their own, the school could enforce the importance of those relationships by having activities relating to the Challenge day throughout the year.

Miramonte doesn’t give us the opportunity to do things like this, except for the Senior OPI Trip, where they get to escape the salmon-colored walls for a week to hike in Olympic National Park and build bonds with their fellow classmates and teachers. Trips like OPI allow students and teachers to break down the barriers among each other. Let’s be honest: the majority of people go on the OPI trip to experience getting to know their classmates better because everyone returns back excited about the new tight-knit friendships they made. Although it is all very “kumbaya” at times, that is just what you need. Unfortunately, not everyone can participate in the Senior OPI trip, and that is another reason why we should bring back Challenge Day. Students should be given more opportunities to experience similar things, and the school should encourage it as well.

The majority of people want to expand their social circles and get to know other classmates, but they are too scared to leave their comfort zones of hanging out with the same people that they’ve known for years and not have to endure that awkward beginning stage of a new friendship. However, such an awkward stage can also be wonderful because the experience of getting to know someone new is exciting and different each time. So why doesn’t Miramonte support this? Are administrators not aware of the disconnect amid the student body? By ignoring this important reality at the school, that disconnect will only result in a larger separation between the students.