Over 100 students at Gulfport High School are participating in ‘Challenge Day’ today and tomorrow. The program is an all-day event with games and activities that target bullying, violence, and negativity in school. Bullying and cyber bullying are hot button issues at middle schools and high schools all over the nation, and administrators struggle to address them head on. Guidance counselors at Gulfport High heard about the program a few years ago and were finally able to secure funding from the Junior Auxiliary and Life Members Club to make the program happen. They say what makes this program so unique is the focus on acceptance.
Cindy Horne, a guidance counselor at Gulfport High School, says, “They focus on just letting people hear that behind every student, adult, there's a story. So it breaks down walls and boundaries and a lot of judgments we have about other people and stereotypes, and just makes the school as a whole more accepting of each other.” The program originally started in California, but after being featured on Oprah, it gained national attention. Other schools have reported that after running ‘Challenge Day’, they found a more loving school environment, fewer discipline problems, and more acts of kindness on their campus. Gulfport High school hopes to secure funding so that they can hold ‘Challenge Day’ every year with their students.