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The Current

The Current

Editorial: Breaking Down The Walls made us better

Sophomore Savannah Rodriguez shakes hands with her partner during a Breaking Down The Walls exercise. Photo by Sarah DeRise

Every two years, Bruins participate in Breaking Down the Walls, a social barrier breaking program founded by Phil Boyte. Students have had differing views on this program. We at The Current find Breaking Down the Walls to be a very beneficial program, and we think all students should attend if they have the opportunity in future years.

Student Activities Director Matt MacDonald thought that Breaking Down the Walls went well.

“I thought it was really good,” he said. “I mean, the fact that we got our whole student body through the process, anybody who wanted to participate in that, is a pretty unique thing. A lot of schools are only able to get a couple hundred kids through, but because we’re small, we got our whole student body through. I thought it was a really powerful experience for the kids, and it was really good.”

Junior Ethan Schrack found the program to be different than anticipated.

“I think Breaking Down the Walls went pretty well,” he said. “A lot of people attended it, and I feel like all the negative hype for it that was going around the school for a couple of weeks ahead of time kind of died out after the first day when people realized that it’s not actually terrible.”

Layla Ray, a junior, agreed with Schrack in that the program was positive.

“I actually think it went really good,” she said. “I noticed a lot of people coming out of their shell, so I think that a lot of people were helped.”

Freshman Brennan Schad disagreed with Ray, and said he thinks that students weren’t very willing to open up.

“I think it was good for some people that had issues and they wanted to handle them with the whole school,” he said. “I also thought that some people were not really letting it do anything because they didn’t want to handle their emotions with everybody publicly.”

Ray explained how the program helps students understand what other people’s lives are like.

“I think it’s helpful because it not only brings us together as a school,  but it also helps other people understand what’s going on in other people’s lives, and to not judge them for it, and not let them see them as what others think,” she said.

Schrack added to Ray’s statement, saying that the program also cuts down on bullying.

“I think Breaking Down The Walls helps Bear River by getting people to know each other better,” he said. “It definitely cuts down bullying for some people totally, if not, for at least a couple weeks. And it helps people just, understand each other better, especially with crossing the line.”

Schad pointed out that some kids can’t participate because of their lack of issues.

“I think that there was a lot of people there that didn’t really have anything to talk about because they are really just, doing fine,” he said.

Schrack described the effect Breaking Down The Walls had on Bear River’s atmosphere.

“Breaking Down The Walls gave the school a much more positive atmosphere, especially directly afterwards, and the following week, it seems like there is a more positive vibe,” he said. “During Breaking Down The Walls itself, it has a couple sad moments, but afterwards it seems pretty good.”

Ray reiterated the fact that people “coming out of their shell” affected the school.

“It affected the atmosphere a lot,” she said. “I can tell that a lot of people are actually coming out of their shell, like I said earlier, but it also allows people to understand that there are people in this school that are going through rough times, and they may not show it on the outside, but we shouldn’t judge them for it, and we shouldn’t act like we are more superior than them.”

To those students who did not attend the program, Ray said they should give the program a chance in the future.

“I would say that they didn’t give it a chance,” she said. “They judged it for what other people were judging it for; they followed what their friends were saying. I would tell them that if they get a chance to in the next couple of years, do it, because it’s a life-changing experience.”

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Editorial: Breaking Down The Walls made us better