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Bruins representing Core Values off campus

Sophomore Karah Echternacht, at center, chats with sophomore friends Grace Billingsley and Breonnah Federigi. Photo by Annabelle Owyoung

Bear River High School’s new Core Values are important to many Bruins. According to staff, students are sharing the importance of Grit, Integrity, Intellectual and Creative Curiosity, Empathy, and Community off campus as well as on.

As teachers are getting to know students outside of the classroom, some of them have pointed out specific students that stood out as excellent examples of the Core Values.

“Last summer I got a chance to see Gage Young working at a convalescent home that my father in law lives in now, and it was just so cool to see him, you know, this high school kid, working and acting so professional, and really making the day of all these elderly people who are having all kinds of problems,” said Physical Education Teacher Scott Savoie. “Wheeling them around in their wheelchairs, helping them up, playing games with them — it was just really cool.”

Gage Young, a junior, detailed what exactly he does at the Golden Empire Nursing and Rehab Center in Grass Valley.

“I work with the old people,” Young said. “I do games with them to stimulate their brain and their senses and try to just help keep them there, so they’re having fun and they’re happy to be there. I’m basically their friend, which I love doing so much. I love them all. I hold them all dear to my heart.”

Some Bruins help at home with relatives, such as Karah Echternacht, a sophomore.

“When my nephew, Utah, comes, we help and play with him,” Echternacht said.

Echternacht said she thinks the main Core Value that plays a part in her home life is empathy, because, “you need empathy so you can be able to relate to people.”

ASB President and senior Bella Batula sees no limits for the applications of the Core Values.

“The Core Values kind of go with everything,” Batula explained. “My main thing would be … pushing students to succeed in education, and whatever they enjoy doing, but also integrating those types of characteristics and traits into their daily lives.”

Specifically, Batula talked about how grit is useful when you’re going through hard times.

“Grit: it encourages people to go forward,” Batula said. “If you’re not good at your job for the first week, you persevere, you go through, you go through trial runs, and you can’t give up in life. You have to push forward.”

Senior Camden Criesco said he finds “community” is an essential value for Bruins to represent.

“They can take ‘what does it mean to be community’ here, take that, and make a community outside of this community,” he said. “… Doing community service, it does help with things you are trying to accomplish or your resumè or whatever, but it should be emphasized just for the good that it does too.”

While students are helping to support our community outside the classroom, their deeds are not always visible to teachers. Bear River’s Principal Dr. Amy Besler said that teachers should connect with students about life daily.

“When I used to teach English, I had a whiteboard in my classroom called ‘Community Share.’ Kids got to come in every day and, before class started, write whatever they wanted to share about what was going on in their lives,” Dr. Besler explained. “We had 5 minutes built into the lesson each day to talk about what they shared. It was a great way to get to know kids on a personal level and they really enjoyed it.”

Mr. Savoie thinks that a good way for teachers to connect with their students is by going to school events.

“It’s cool to see kids in extracurricular activities, so (teachers) can go to dances or games, or plays, or dance recitals, music events, all those things,” Mr. Savoie said. “I think, give teachers a chance to see kids in a different way.”

Teachers and students are seeing good things being done by Bruins, but should these Bruins be given recognition? And if so, how? Dr. Amy Besler explained how she is working to acknowledge the students that incorporate the Core Values into their daily lives, both on and off campus.

“I am working with a group of students on creating a spirit week at some point this year that would crown ‘royalty’ around the core values, so that we can recognize Bruins who embody each of those values in their everyday lives,” Dr. Besler said.

However, Young doesn’t think that students need their good deeds to be recognized.

“I wouldn’t say it’s something that needs to be acknowledged (students using the Core Values), for as long as they’re just happy to do it. I think that’s all they really need,” he said.

Batula has mixed feelings on the subject.  

“It deserves to be recognized,” she said. “But it’s hard to measure somebody based on the good deeds they do. As much as you want to, it’s one of those things that you think should just be done day-to-day, you should just do good for other people regardless of being acknowledged.”

— Sonora Slater contributed to this report.

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Bruins representing Core Values off campus