Some dedicated Upper School students are leading the schoolwide charge to commit to and sustain a culture of balance and well-being on campus with the creation of the Challenge Success Club this year. Kick-started last fall by senior and founding Challenge Success team member Andrew B. ’18, the Challenge Success Club has already taken the reins to address concerns specifically related to student-athletes as well as the overall mental health of the entire campus community.
(Looking for a refresher on the Challenge Success program and how Head-Royce initially became involved? Follow this link to read up on our partnership!)
"As a member of the Challenge Success Committee in the 2016–2017 school year, I learned firsthand how symbiotically the dynamic between the four major constituencies on campus––students, parents, teachers, and coaches––operates, as these groups are the most heavily invested in everyday campus life. The Challenge Success Club provides a safe space for students to consider and brainstorm solutions to issues that would be more useful to the entire School community,” Andrew explains.
Holding a space during the school day for community-wide discourse and education on ways to adjust and leverage the School schedule to support balance and well-being, the Club hosted a student-led athletics-based H-Block in November to determine the main challenges students face when balancing school and athletics, and to come up with potential ways to reduce those challenges. It was a momentous first step for the Club to bridge the gap in communication that often takes place between faculty, coaches and students. Students used notecards to convey anonymously what they wished their teachers, coaches, parents and peers knew about the experience of a Head-Royce student-athlete. What came out of this effort was the formation of the Captains Council, a student group comprised of all team captains, which will meet every other week with Director of Athletics Brendan Blakeley to continue the work of easing communication between teachers, coaches and students.
Andrew explained that “a huge part of the creation of the Captains Council is to make sure the captains have more responsibility. The goal is using the captains as a way to relay important information between Blakeley, coaches, and the rest of the teams, giving them the opportunity to exact and hone their skills as leaders.”
The Challenge Success Club has also made some headway on the effort to elevate mental health awareness on campus. In addition to spearheading the Captains Council campaign to adjust the athletics schedule to include two mental health days off for every student-athlete in each season of participation, the Club also sponsored a “Bring Your Dog to Work/Pet-A-Pup Day” during finals study day in December as a way to boost the collective energy and morale. In addition, the Club has also posted in every restroom, nook, and cranny on campus with thoughtful and uplifting handmade mental health notes, gifting students and the adult members of the Professional Community with positivity and encouragement at moments throughout the course of the school day.
Overall, it seems the Club’s greatest success in its inaugural year has been being able to field feedback from a more diverse pool of Head-Royce voices––students and Professional Community members alike. Andrew added, “I am looking forward to seeing what progress the Club makes after I graduate. The problem right now is not having enough people to execute all of the great ideas the Club is coming up with!”
Looking to increase participation and its visibility on campus, the Challenge Success Club will host a bake sale in the coming weeks. Club meetings are open to any and all attendees on Thursdays during lunch in Room 404. If you are interested in learning more about Club happenings, it now also boasts a web presence, with a designated area for news, media, and updates on the Club’s progress located on the Challenge Success and Head-Royce webpage (under the top navigation Community dropdown).
Bird's Eye View is a story series highlighting our work towards the initiatives and goals laid out in our Strategic Plan: Bridge to 2022.