Students Speak Out: Challenge Day Changed My School Community
October 12, 2015 - Challenge Days have been bringing together school communities across Denver Public Schools over the past few weeks, and students aren't holding back when it comes to sharing the impact the days have had on their communities.
Kevin Collins pictured above, an 8th grade student at DC-21, had no idea what to expect when he heard that Challenge Day would be visiting his school in mid-September.
"I thought it might be something related to sports, but honestly, I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. When we came through the doors and saw all of our teachers lined up and cheering, I knew it was going to be a different kind of day," Collins said with a smile.
"It turned out to be a very emotional experience, "Collins explained. "It allowed us to see that other people have challenging lives too, and that we aren't alone. The day makes you realize that everyone has feelings and that their feelings are just as important as your own."
Collins went on to explain that the day also impacted his relationship with his teachers.
"Challenge Day helps adults realize what kids are going through and how they truly feel on the inside," Collins said. "I saw my teachers cry as they got to know us and our struggles in a real way. They got to see what's inside our hearts, and we saw inside theirs."
Curious about what's been happening at DC-21 since their Challenge Day?
"I've noticed that after Challenge Day, the cliques aren't as strong," Collins shared. "Sure, we all still have our friends, but we are better about hanging out with people outside of our friend groups. We are more accepting, more like a family. The day made me realize we have to work together - not against one another - to be successful."
Amanda Bruemmer, the school's social worker, agrees that the day changed the way students view themselves, one another, and their teachers.
"After Challenge Day, I've seen a lot of changes between staff and students. The relationships are definitely stronger. We actually had a parent call the school after Challenge Day to share that her son told her that the day changed the way he felt about a particular teacher he had been struggling to connect with all year because Challenge Day showed him how much he and that teacher actually had in common," Bruemmer explained. "It really helped him see his teachers in a new light."
Challenge Denver: Our Story
Challenge Denver is a non-profit organization located in Denver, Colorado whose work is to inspire and re-engage Denver Public School (DPS) middle and high school students in their school communities by providing them with the experience of Challenge Day along with consistent follow-up programming and support.
We believe that every member of our school communities has the potential to be the change they wish to see in the world. Our mission is to engage and inspire Denver Public School students, teachers, and community members by helping them feel connected, valued, and empowered to be successful in their school communities every day.
"Never doubt that one day can change your life because if you don't allow yourself the opportunity of Challenge Day, you may not learn what is truly possible and you may never see the world for what it truly is." - Freshman, South High School, Denver, CO
Our Work In Action
Learn more about us and meet our board members. We are committed to ensuring all of our students and teacher in DPS feel connected, valued, and empowered in school every day.