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Challenge Day HSN 1

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Challenge Day at High School North evoked smiles and hugs (left), pensive thought (center), and fun and silliness (above), all in the interest of bringing everyone together. Story below.

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Principal Ed Keller receives a powerful embrace from a High School North student during Challenge Day April 5.
Challenge Day at HSN 5

Syma Chowdry from New Jersey News 12 was a volunteer for and active participant in Challenge Day at her high school alma mater.

April 6, 2023—Challenge Day is a program that “provides youth and their communities with experiential programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth and full expression.” Yesterday, with an assist from Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the full-fledged support of Superintendent Citta, Challenge Day brought its mission to High School North.

One hundred students and 25 HSN staff members took part. Opening exercises served to do just that-- open everyone up, through hugs, fist bumps, and other means of affection and acknowledgement. From there, large and small groups shared intimate and private conversations about things they were going through, developing a mutual understanding and cultivating empathy and a strong sense of community.

“Our kids were raving about it all day,” said Principal Ed Keller, who also took part (left). “Even at a spring bonfire we held yesterday evening, the kids who had taken part could be seen giving each other the sign language for ‘I love you,’ something that was used during Challenge Day. I can’t say enough about how great it was.”

News 12’s Syma Chowdry (left), Class of ‘99 High School North graduate, was there to volunteer and take part, proving that the day brought together Mariners past and present.

A slideshow of photos below conveys more of the fun and emotion of the day. Not seen are the intimate and small group settings-- which were private and confidential-- which students and staff claimed were the most resonating and impactful part of the experience.