CLARK FORK — When it comes to clamping down on school bullying, Clark Fork High School seniors are mixing it up.
The students enjoyed a day free from conventional studies Friday with a special event designed to shift preset social groups and match different kinds of students together. According to Clark Fork High School senior Tessa Vogel, the senior class designed the day as a tool to fight against bullying.
“We recently realized how bad the bullying situation was over here and decided we needed to do something about it,” Vogel said.
With that in mind, the senior class decided to tackle it in the most positive way they could with the “Mix It Up” event. Traditionally, graduating classes find a way to give back to the school, so the students decided to make the anti-bullying initiative their senior class project.
The first step was to figure out how to get past the problem of high school cliques. Clark Fork seniors wanted to make sure they approached the event in a way that ignored boundaries set by grade level, extracurricular activity participation and other factors.
“We decided to split up kids into different groups to make sure they were with people they wouldn’t normally hang out with,” Vogel said.
The planners included three seniors in each group to oversee events and make sure everything went smoothly. Finally, they set about fashioning activities that emphasized working together and learning about one another.
It all came to a head on Friday, when students spent most of the day rotating between the various rooms to different activities. Some events emphasized learning new things about peers, as was the case in a game where students shared two truths and one lie about themselves and challenged group members to distinguish between them. Students even earned themselves some mementos of the experience by tie-dyeing various articles of clothing in the workshop.
Other rooms encouraged groups to work together creatively through improv performances. Students collaborated in one room to make videos portraying both positive and negative approaches to solve bullying.
Of course, the deciding factor on each activity was whether or not it sounded fun, and based on student reactions, the seniors succeeded. Groups were having a blast in dance parties and games emphasizing teamwork with giant parachutes or mobile balance beams. According to Vogel, the day was a chance to relax in addition to combating bullying, and the seniors seemed satisfied with the results.
“We really hope this will be our way of giving back to the school,” Vogel said.