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Back to school " but not classes

Amanda Holt Miller
Western Garfield County Staff
Post Independent/Kelley Cox
ALL |

PARACHUTE ” Dora King got all wrapped up in the excitement of the first day of school Tuesday ” literally.

Three seniors at Grand Valley High School ” Julie Koenig, Brandon Anderson and Aubra Whitmore ” wrapped their teacher in toilet paper.

The first class to successfully cover every inch of a teacher in toilet paper won the first in a series of class competitions Tuesday. The seniors scored the first point with the mummification exercise.



The event was part of a day full of team-building and get-to-know-each-other activities. For the first time, the first day of school at GVHS did not include classes.

“I’ve never worked in a school where they’ve done this,” said Anna Whitmore, the new counselor who recently moved from Leadville. “This is a really good idea.”



Anna Whitmore, who is Aubra’s mother, said she knew the principal, Larry Brady, planned to have an assembly. But the teachers all suggested that he extend the day so students could participate in fun activities that they hope will make the school more cohesive, she said.

There are 277 students at Grand Valley High School and at one point Tuesday, they were all on the gym floor together. Brady had freshmen and seniors line one wall, while sophomores and juniors spread out in front of the bleachers on the other side.

The name of the game was “Across the Gym.” When Brady read a statement, students who disagreed had to cross from one side of the gym to the other.

“The only way this is going to work is if everyone is honest,” Brady said to the students. “Those of you who are holding hands, don’t want to let go of your friends, are afraid to cross the gym by yourself, you must be honest with yourself and not be afraid to share your opinion.”

Then he shot out a very hard-hitting statement: “Nick and Jessica are headed for divorce,” Brady said, referring to Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson’s reality television show “The Newlyweds.”

Eventually, Brady got to tougher issues: “Bullying is the number-one problem in schools today.” Some students passed across the gym, but not a majority.

“Women should be allowed front-line combat duty.” Only a few students made their ways to the center and across.

“The United States of America is still the greatest country in the world.” Those students who disagreed elicited boos and hisses from the rest of the crowd.

“We have a small campus,” Brady said after the game. “We have to have tolerance for one another here. Bullying cannot be the number-one problem in schools today. You have to be true to yourselves.”

That was the message of the exercise ” respect diversity and be tolerant of different opinions, Brady told the students.

“That was a little odd,” freshman Renee Allison said about the exercise. “But it was interesting to see everybody’s reactions.”

Allison said she isn’t nervous about starting her first year of high school.

“I know almost everyone here,” she said. “So I’m not nervous at all.”

Anna Whitmore said the activities were a good way for the faculty to get to know students and to mix students together who might not normally hang out.

Contact Amanda Holt Miller, 625-3245 ext. 103

ahmiller@citizentelegram.com


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