The CLUB (Community Leaders Unblocking Barriers), formerly known as The Diversity Club, is an Upper School student-led, faculty-advised group on our campus. They have tackled difficult social questions and situations to help them understand themselves, their school community, and the world-at-large. Last Friday they were able to use rotation scheduling to offer “Challenge Day.”
The schedule began with an “iceberg session.” The welcome address began with:
Welcome to Challenge Day. The CLUB has been working all year to plan this day for you. Our goal is to offer us a chance to connect in ways we usually don’t in our busy day-to-day lives on campus. In fact, our lives are a lot like icebergs. What people see every day is only about 10% of who we are and what we think. Today is about going beneath the waterline, about revealing a little bit of that other 90% by connecting through stories.
To create small groups that would accommodate meaningful discussion, students were able to select a topic they wished to explore based on CLUB members’ stories/interests. The topics, presented on large pieces of plywood as a black & white image of the student surrounded by their story, were on display outside the theater. Once everyone had identified with a theme, they got to work.
A series of activities and discussions were designed to encourage thoughtful conversation, reflection, and connection. The groups completed other exercises in word association (connection, community, story) and shared stories about their passions and purpose. One of the culminating activities is a Ballad Poem composed of student responses to be published in the days following these class periods. To end the morning, all the groups gathered in the gym for the Walk where each student was asked to finish the sentence "If you really knew me, you would know..." The answers to this question were put around the gym, and all students walked around and read their peer's responses. Another closing exercise asked them to step forward if they felt moved by specific topics on the wall and felt as though they wanted to help, if they expressed themselves, or let others see them in a different way during any of the activities.
The CLUB also implemented a very thorough survey. They were interested to know how students responded to the topics, how they felt about the discussions, and what suggestions they might have to improve this concept going forward. Responses revealed that 70% of the students who participated wanted Challenge Day to become an annual tradition and 60% said the morning helped them feel closer to their peers at The Gregory School.