Students work to break down barriers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students work to break down barriers

August 23, 2007

Bainbridge-- Walk into almost any high school in America and you'll see them. . . cliques.  And its no different at Bainbridge High.  "Certain people, like the band hang with the band, the football team with the football team," explains 11th grader Colby Ponder.

But Thursday 100 Bainbridge High school students had the chance to change that for their whole school.  "They have no idea what they're getting themselves into when they get here," says Allison Harrell, a social worker for the Decatur County school system.

Three other Decatur schools participated in challenge day earlier this week.  The international program where facilitators is aimed at tearing down walls and forming bonds between people who might never expect to be friends.  "Basically its about relationship building and compassion.  Not judging others. Not just looking at someone and already having an image of what they are in their mind. Getting to know people," says Harrell.  

After the morning activities to get the kids loosened up, they closed the doors to everyone not participating in challenge day.  Inside they break into family groups they stay with the whole day where real bonds start to form.

And hopefully last.  "I hope when you walk into our schools you don't see any segregation whatsoever. We are all just one big group," says Harrell.  Ponder adds, "I hope I see people hanging with different people that was here and just everybody talking to everybody and getting along."

The Decatur students are the first ever in Georgia who got to take part Challenge Day, but hopefully won't be the last.  Along with the 400 students, 100 adults also took part in Challenge Day.

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