Fun, Friends and Fulfillment at Challenge Day


Middle school students and Peer Leaders partake in one of the many activities prepared on Challenge Day, with this year’s focus on Emotional Intelligence. (Photo by Gkathleen Guedez)

According to the Oxford online dictionary, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

With that in mind, Peer Leadership made fostering Emotional Intelligence their main purpose in this year’s Challenge Day in mid-February.

Challenge Day is an annual event in which the district’s middle school students visit the high school to increase both their familiarity with the high school and their ability to interact with their peers.

“We want to get the middle school students more comfortable with the high school, as well as get them to make new friends and new connections,” said senior Peer Leader Connor Farrington.

The day was organized by senior Peer Leaders, Julia Bisse and Gabriella DeLeon, with other Peer Leaders helping to bring the day into fruition. Overall, there were 61 students from both  Oxford Central School and Warren Hills Middle School present for the activities.

The main purpose of Challenge Day is to break down walls in a safe and comfortable environment in order to get more personal with one another. The hope is to have the students get out of their comfort zones, effectively work together, and make new friends. 

Senior Peer Leader, Sam Lopez, said, “The entire purpose of today is to help give the younger students new people to bond and build new connections with.”

Leaders had the middle schoolers partake in icebreakers and other activities throughout the day, such as Name Tag Hunt, If You Really Knew Me, I Have Your Back, Human Knot and Cross the Line

“These activities help [the students] talk and interact with new people they’ve never spoken to before to gain new relationships,” said junior Peer Leader Vincent Costa. 

For middle schooler Ella Neves, the objectives were accomplished.

“The activities were fun,” she said.  “I’ve made a few new friends and I feel so much more comfortable in the high school now.”

Not only did the middle school students enjoy Challenge Day, but many of the Peer Leaders did as well.

 “It’s really cool. I thought it was going to be awkward, but I’ve actually made some friends,” said senior Peer Leader Ryan Cagnassola.

As well as senior Peer Leaders, junior Peer Leaders were just as involved in helping create new relationships between the middle school students. 

“It’s great how the junior Peer Leaders are here,” senior Peer Leader, Emily Reed said, “because now they can have the ability to bond with the middle school students, so that when they transition into the high school, they can at least see a familiar face.”

Penny Giamoni, the advisor of Peer Leadership, said she was proud of seeing her students lead this big event. 

“I’m thrilled,” she said. “Getting to see my kids take charge is so fulfilling. I’m so happy and so proud of them. It’s amazing to see them take over.”