By Sports Editor Clara Hall
Graphics courtesy of NTPS
Last October, Timberline was visited by demonstrator Stu Cabe, a representative from the Breaking Down the Walls program. After some discussion with staff, as well as the North Thurston School District, Timberline High School, along with the other three of consecutive high schools in the district, has decided to hold a “revamp” of the program.
The Breaking Down the Walls program visited Timberline last October with the goal of building a stronger sense of community within the school. The program kickoff began with an all-school assembly, where presenter Cabe spoke to students and staff about what it means to stand up for what’s right and how to be kind to one another. Cabe then worked with a group of about 70 student leaders and 600 students per school over a course of three days, with an additional day prior for the purpose of leadership training.
Due to a successful turnout of the program, Principal Paul Dean agrees that it is time to present students with a renewal of the program to help promote and renovate the ideas presented at the first event. “We finished the last one with all of our schools and we felt that there was a lot that came out of it,” said Dean. After further discussion regarding a desire to take each individual high school and make [Breaking Down the Walls] more of a district wide collaboration, it was decided that selected leaders from each consecutive high school would come together to think more about how to impact the community of as a whole. “We wanted to try to expand [the program] in a different way and I think each of us just like the idea of bringing it full circle back around and having those conversations again,” said Dean.
Each high school, including Timberline, North Thurston, River Ridge, and South Sound, took part in this renewal. An estimated 60 members from each school, with the exception of a lesser amount from South Sound high school, was chosen to attend a day long trip to the Raj Manhas Activity Center on Jan. 11 where they were once again joined by guest speaker Stu Cabe. The participants of the day-long revamp of the program were made up of a majority of the leaders who participated in the first Breaking Down the Walls. “We used most of the same leaders from last time,” said Dean. “Part of that was since we only have one day we wanted to use folks that were already familiar with the program and everything [involved].”
Throughout the day, student leaders took part in various workshops led by Cabe, similar to ones presented before. “First [there will be] just some revisiting of what its about, and I think that’s going to be important,” said Dean. “There needs to be a combination of goofy and serious, with an eye towards bringing that impact towards a bigger community.”
The theme of Breaking Down the Walls this time around was a focus on what it means to be a leader, and how to bring those skills to not only a school environment, but to the community level. Cabe spoke to students about the importance of recognizing change in people, listening, and showing kindness. “The idea of noticing somebody and celebrating it, if someone just takes that away that’s great because then that is the stepping stone towards connection and relationships being developed,” said Cabe. “Just listen and be nice; when we listen and honor somebody else, that’s when the connections are made. Then you do that back and forth between each other, and that’s where friendships are made.”
The decision for the timing of this “revamp” was a collective pronouncement made from more than just Timberline staff; but rather a decision between the additional high schools involved. “We were trying to pick a good time and we wanted it to wait until after the holidays, we felt it was too hectic before the holidays,” said Dean. “We felt that one day in early January was far enough away from finals, and moving any later was too close to that, so we were just trying to find that balance and we felt this was a good time frame.”
The biggest difference in the renewal was that in the first run of the program a higher number of students experienced the program and were involved, whereas the revamp was on a much lesser scale in terms of the number of students, and was a only one day impact for students involved.
“Whether it’s this or any other program, there is no magic program that’s going to make people change who they are, but I think if we can have time, days, and activities that we are intentionally trying to keep out in front of this community, we are going to care about each other and treat each other kindly,” said Dean. “The more often that we do that and remind each other of that idea, I think there is a potential for positive results.”