Cheers, high fives, and music were in the air as seventh graders ran in between a supportive team. Excitement and energy filled Challenge Day Wednesday at Gwinn High School. The students involved rode a roller coaster full of emotions and fun.
For Superintendent Kim Tufnell, it's moving.
"I love when they first come in. They kind of come with a little bit of an attitude and some swagger. Sure they are happy to be out of class, but you watch this transformation over the day and by the time they leave here, there's nothing better," said Tufnell.
Challenge Day gets kids together to break out of their comfort zone, pushing them to see past their differences and accept one another equally with love and compassion.
Challenge leader Ronald Gensler says it's about connecting.
"It's about opening up and sharing with those around you. It's about, here's who I am 100 percent, not just because I'm a good athlete, but I'm also a good songwriter, a good person," said Gesler.
The ice breaker games prepared them for the toughest part of the day. Things got a little emotional when students dropped the waterline and got real in some confidential exercises where they share something personal about themselves or their lives that no one else knows.
For many kids, like Hunter Bachman, sharing his struggles and listening to each other helps them realize they aren't so different.
"I felt like I don't need to try and hide it. It was just nice to see that everybody in a roundabout way has something going on," said Bachman.
By the end of the day, kids can see they aren't alone in their personal struggles. If they want to make a difference, they can be that change.
The change continued Thursday for high school students.??