Breaking Down the Walls evokes compassion

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Granite Bay High school students were recently given the opportunity to participate in a well renowned program.

  Breaking Down the Walls takes place at high schools all across the nation, and helps to create a positive school culture while giving students an opportunity to connect with other students on campus. Students were given the option of attending the  January 21 or January 22 workshops, but space was limited to 150 students per day.

  This isn’t the first time an event like this has taken place on campus. However, BDTW and Every 15 Minutes alternate.

  “We had (BDTW) two years ago,” activities director Tamara Givens said. “They have different purposes but they impact class times so that was my reasoning for not wanting to do them in the same year.”

  Senior Emily Gallegos attended BDTW her sophomore year and enjoyed it.

  “I was so motivated and inspired by the event. It reminds us to be good people, especially on campus.” This year she participated as a group leader. “  I decided I wanted to be a leader because I admired my leader, and wanted to pass my experience forward.”

  Leaders were in charge of running the group activities and were required to attend training in advance. They also helped the speaker whenever she needed.

  The event encompases the student government theme of empathy and Walking a Mile in someone else’s shoes.

  For junior BDTW participant Selena De La Torre, it was impactful and eye opening.

  “You got to admit what you were going through and see other people that were in the same boat as you” De La Torre said. “I felt comforted and not alone. It was a great environment to be in.”

  BDTW consisted of both big group activities and small group activities, giving students a wide range of options to express their emotions.   

  “My favorite part was the small group activities, it was personal, (but) fun” Zenzola said.

  However, for some students opening up doesn’t come naturally. Luckily they didn’t have to.

  “The cool thing about this program is that … You were able to match the level of engagement with your comfort level.” Anvari said. “Internally they were probably going deeper, but they didn’t have to express that.”

  Some participants believe that people will push the lessons they acquired to the back of their minds.     

  “If we did this stuff more regularly, not necessarily a big event, but to remind student that there are people who are going through things, it would help,” De La Torre said.

  De La Torre hopes Granite Bay will include reminders in the bulletins more frequently, to keep the spark alive.

  While the outcome was satisfactory, students and teachers felt that more people would have participated if they didn’t have to miss class.

   “If (more) people had taken the time to attend, BDTW could have really changed the school for the better.” De La Torre said. “I don’t regret missing class, and recommend it to everyone, it’s worth it.”

  While it is understandable that students are concerned with academics, feeling comfortable in the classroom environment is more important for many.

  “Yes we’re a school and academics are important but how could you learn if you don’t feel comfortable or safe or feel that someone understands you” Anvari said.

  Overall the response to BDTW has been nothing but  positive.

  “It is such a blessing to have this opportunity to learn about other people and make more friends on campus” Gallegos said.

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