On Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 13 and 14, Big Walnut High School will host two full-day “Challenge Day” sessions at Sunbury United Methodist Church.
For the past eight years, all Big Walnut High School incoming freshmen students have experienced Challenge Day.
Challenge Day is a nationally recognized motivation program that brings students together in a series of close-knit, ice-breaking group activities to break down walls created by bullying, teasing, clique problems and other divisive and isolating activities.
While Challenge Day has become a Big Walnut High School staple, student council adviser Angie Stooksbury said it’s a community-funded program, with 100 percent of program costs coming from donations and fundraising efforts. No school district money is used to finance Challenge Day.
A two-day Challenge Day event will cost $10,000, Stooksbury said, including the cost of facilitators from California-based Challenge Day, airfare, hotel accommodations and student lunches.
In addition to the cost of holding the two daylong sessions, Stooksbury said a host of community volunteers serve as adult facilitators assisting the Challenge Day team leaders.
“I’m so thankful for the community support we get for Challenge Day,” Stooksbury said. “Without members of this community donating money and volunteering their time, this would not happen. Every year we get so much affirmation about lives changing because of Challenge Day. We see it in our school with the lack of fights, and students discussing divisive issues. We truly are a Challenge Day community.”
Stooksbury said Challenge Day costs need paid up-front, making the event a perennial fundraising activity.
“I have an anonymous donor who has pledged up to $3,000 towards this year’s Challenge Day if we can raise matching funds,” Stooksbury said. “There are other school districts in central Ohio that hold Challenge Day as a fee-based option. Many students who could benefit from Challenge Day can’t afford to attend. We want to continue providing Challenge Day to all of our incoming freshmen.”
For more information about the Challenge Day initiative and how to contribute as an individual or as a corporate sponsor, contact Stooksbury at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Stooksbury at 740-965-3766, Ext. 1207.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093