Freshmen build friendships

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Freshmen Challenge leaders pose for a photo after team bonding activities in the West Gym. Photo by: Alexi All

The freshman class piled into the auditorium on Jan. 11 to participate in a day full of activities with classmates both familiar and unfamiliar. Freshmen Challenge acts as a way for ninth graders to branch out and bond with their class.

“Bringing the kids together, to build them up as a class: That’s our main goal. [We also want] to help them understand the importance of uniting to enjoy each other and grow through the next four years,” Joan Bline, prevention and intervention counselor, said.

Principal Paul Waller greeted the freshman in the morning with positive comments while Bline introduced the purpose of Freshmen Challenge, as well as the importance of having a good attitude and open mind.  

“[Freshmen Challenge is] a day of team building and discussion to promote friendship and understanding of others. [It’s] a day that is designed to help the freshmen of OHS unite and work towards a common goal of class unity,” Bline said.

 After introductions as well as a speech from guest speaker, Beth Flach of UD’s Academic Coordinator for Men’s and Women’s Basketball, the freshman split into seven different groups based on colors. They then introduced themselves and participated in icebreakers before moving into different stations found throughout the school.

Students dedicated half an hour to each of the seven stations. The stations included team building conducted by members of the United States Army, a Mannequin Challenge, stereotypes and perspectives, making a list of top ten goals for the year and listening to senior’s advice, additional team building games and activities, discussion over underage drinking and drug use, and a self esteem boost.

A new addition this year was the Mannequin Challenge in the library. Each group received a separate theme to portray. A video compilation of this station will be shown in homeroom on Jan. 25.

A balance of fun as well as serious activities occurred. One such activity entailed the formation of groups with different numbers of people. The remaining participants who were not in the group acted as “outcasts”. This activity exhibited to freshmen how easy it is to leave someone out and how it makes others feel. Some fun activities consisted of making a pyramid, hula hoop races, and the eye contact game.

“It was probably the best [activity] yet. It was a lot more fun [than previous years] and there were more team building activities. In my group, I could tell they weren’t excluding each other,” Mackenzie Skidmore (11), a junior leader said.

The seventh year of Freshmen Challenge proved to be successful to the Bline.

“From the feedback I have gotten from our leaders, it was a very successful and a great Freshmen Challenge,” Bline said.  “I have made several changes from last year’s event.  This year was our best one yet.”    

By: Caroline Daniels

daniels.caroline@oakwoodschools.org

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