What’s the Big Idea? A special day at GSHS | PostIndependent.com

What’s the Big Idea? A special day at GSHS

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Imagine having an entire day set aside to ponder goals, listen to speakers, contemplate big ideas and have a look at the world at large.

At Glenwood Springs High School, Wednesday was just such a day – Big Idea Day. Instead of regular classes, students in the School Climate Committee organized a jam-packed schedule. The committee produced and screened a video, introducing this year’s theme, “It’s My Life,” and presented two speakers, one thought-provoking, the other inspiring.

They organized a Glenwood Springs High School alumni panel featuring police chief Terry Wilson and artist Dan Sprick, among others.

They presented dancers from the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s Mexicano Folklorico dancers, a concert with the high school jazz band and an interactive Spanish/English bingo game.

“We spent a lot of time planning this year’s event,” said junior Jake Ziemann, a member of the School Climate Committee. “We looked at the things that affect our community, and we looked at what we might want to do with our lives.”

“Big Idea Day gives us time to think about stuff outside of school and our future,” added junior Bridget Jankovsky.

That’s why the nine students of the School Climate Committee and principal Mike Wells were frustrated that roughly half of the student body cut school Wednesday.

“It’s not an optional day,” said Wells. “We invite parents and the community to participate, and those who do get a lot out of it. But this attendance level is going to force us to evaluate providing this event in the future.”

That’s disappointing to the students that did attend school Wednesday.

“We worked hard on this,” said junior Abby Willman. “We appreciate the kids who were here.”

“Our mission is to involve students in their own success,” added junior Ashton Taufer.

That’s why the committee invited keynote speaker David Barsamian of Boulder to Big Idea Day. Barsamian is founder and director of Alternative Radio, an independent radio program produced in Boulder. He gave a spirited talk on the media and how corporate America influences what teens are supposed to think and feel.

“Kids are bombarded by these images,” Barsamian said. “It’s all, `Buy this, get that. Be a size 3, and if you don’t have blonde hair you’re not a real woman.’ It’s all propaganda. I want these kids to learn to be skeptical. Corporate media is good at asking, `Who, what, where and when,’ but things collapse at `why.'”

Susie Krabacher of Aspen, founder of The Mercy and Sharing Foundation, was the other speaker. The foundation serves more than 1,800 children in Haiti. She told the students she was compelled to reach out to others less fortunate because of her own good fortune.

“I never saw myself living in a house in Aspen,” she said. “I felt and still feel so blessed. I have way too much, so giving to these children is my way of contributing something positive back.”

Another component of the day was “Mix It Up and Have Fun,” a Spanish/English bingo game. Climate Committee member and parent Maurine Taufer said the activity helped to create some genuine fun between cultures.

“One of our goals is to connect with the Latino population,” Taufer said. “I think we really succeeded with bridging that gap today.”

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518


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