Challenge Day: Changing the Culture at Nashoba


Tati Picard

Students at Challenge Day

On November 15th, 100 Nashoba sophomores and 25 staff members participated in Challenge Day.

Challenge Day is a program that describes its mission as providing “youth and their communities with experiential programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth and full expression.”

Beyond Nashoba, Oprah has advocated for the program saying, “I’m not kidding when I say this is how we change the world.”

Guidance counselor Ms. McDonald planned to bring change to Nashoba through the Challenge Day program after working at another school and participating in a similar program. She said, “in getting my position here I had done a lot of research in challenge day and I found all these videos and testimonials of it and I was like ‘this is fabulous I want to bring this here and I want to have this change be a part of the Nashoba culture.’”

The 100 sophomores were chosen at random to participate in Challenge Day and teachers were chosen from those who work with sophomores the most.

Ms. Bullard, a science teacher at Nashoba said the most impactful part of the day was “to see all the students who were trying their best be open and honest.” She continued saying that it “melted [my] heart.”

Sophomore Brittney Yuen said that Challenge Day, “was just really emotional but also really freeing because you could just let out all of your emotions and I think that it did make my grade closer. Today, people in my grade won’t stop hugging each other and we’re all closer because we shared this day.”

Yuen continued saying, “People that I saw as rude and disrespectful began to apologize for everything they’d ever done and started as a new person after challenge day. I honestly didn’t think that it would affect us as much as it did.”

Ms. McDonald said that she thought Challenge Day was important because it built a community in the sophomore class, but, “more than anything, students don’t feel alone on whatever they’re going through.”

She has plans to continue the program with the upcoming sophomore classes and continue every year after so that eventually all Nashoba students will have gone through it, because, “The toughest thing about Challenge day is it’s really hard to put into words. You talk about it so much but until you go through it you don’t feel it.”