The Tartan

Challenge Day Makes a Difference

Posted on: October 6, 2017
Students teach class

By Katelyn Powers and Ben Murray

On Friday, September 29th, 2017 the student of Oak Hills kicked the day before homecoming off with our 5th annual Challenge Day. The mission of Oak Hills was to work with the students on developing an understanding of global education, and using that to take action. Challenge Day gave the student body the chance to lead each other and make a change in our society. Thanks to joining the ISSN (International Studies Schools Network) in 2011, Oak Hills was able to make that happen.  Within the last five years, there hasn’t been many changes in Challenge Day. Every year the full day is a new theme, but each theme has revolved around the same subject, global competence. The theme of Global Health was picked this year by not only Mrs. Sullivan, but also by the staff and students. The student leaders and Mrs. Sullivan hoped to influence the student body with providing an authentic and global view of a complicated topic.  

Within the day, the student body moved around to four classrooms with their first bells. In each room, the different subjects of addiction, mental Illness, personal health, and obesity were taught. In mental illness, the students learned that you can not see the struggle that someone is suffering with internally from the outside. Personality traits have no relationship with mental health and students shouldn’t follow the stigma about people who are suffering from these illnesses.   

When going around, students eventually made their way to personal health. As one of the many classrooms that taught personal health, Mrs. Biser and her student leader, Hannah Bacon, exclaimed, “The personal health topic was beneficial to the students because it focused on a little bit of everything. We even had a student tells us how fun this topic was!” For the students who participated, they learned about the five types of wellness: social, physical, environmental, emotional, and intellectual. While students learned about the different types of wellness, they learned some tips on how they could make life easier and healthier for themselves in the long run. People could make many changes to initiate a happier life, such as smiling more often or even doing one objective a day that they usually put off.

The next station the students stopped at was addiction. Addiction can be a struggle for not only those who become addicted, but for their family and friends as well. One of the most common and most destructive addictions faced recently is heroine. Because heroin is so addicting, it ends the lives of 50% of people that use it. Through “The Three C’s of Dealing with an Addict”, students learned that they didn’t cause and can’t control or cure someone else's addiction. If you become addicted at any point in your life, it’s important to surround yourself with positive relationships, talk about what is going on, and seek help for yourself. But remember, you can’t get addicted to a drug if you never take it in the first place.

The final stop was obesity and malnutrition. Although these topics seem to be the exact opposite of each other, they are both very important. While the students focused on malnutrition, they learned that it affects over 50% of the world's population. It was told that in many impoverished countries, there are people who pass away due to not getting the vitamins they need on a daily basis. As the students focused on the other end of the spectrum, they also learned that obesity is very harmful to people as well. The presentation made it clear that being overweight can be seen by many people as a lifestyle choice to not eat well or exercise but, there are many other factors that can lead people to obesity. So the students were reminded that the way someone’s body looks isn’t always their fault and they should think twice before judging someone.

In all, the challenge of understanding the life of someone who is struggling was a success. Not only did the students get to learn about the lives of those struggling, but also the teachers got to appreciate an insight into global competence. From experience Mrs. Hogel, a psychology teacher, said “I appreciate that we had an opportunity for students to put themselves in other people’s shoes to see what their lives were like.” Mr. Kinkley, a history teacher, agreed, “I think they were more excited that they got to learn about something that they could relate too.”