First REDx deemed success

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First REDx deemed success

Abigail Vondy, Staff Reporter

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Admin and teachers come together to answer students’ call

Imagine walking up the concrete path towards the front door of Eaton High School. On one side of the front lawn, students

practice fly fishing and play frisbee. Across the once dull sidewalk, which is now covered in chalk drawings, crowds ready themselves with paint brushes as they walk towards a blank white canvas. Beyond them, students look in awe at therapy dogs sitting in the green grass. Upon entering the school, the smell of warm chili fills the air as steps are taken towards the gym, where booths are set up for activities such as virtual reality, coloring, and Zumba. Each booth is filled with laughing and smiling students who are participating in activities that correlate with their interests and passions. Booths such as meditation, blackout poetry, yoga, and rock painting are included for relaxation and a way to reduce stress. Other booths, such as sewing and quilting, kite flying, frisbee, video games, sports talk radio, and green chili demo, appeal to specific interest of the students. Overall, the booths create a way for the student body to focus on themselves and their mind, body, and spirit.

  Welcome to Eaton High School’s very first REDx.

Most students know what a TEDx conference is, in fact that is where the English department created the idea of REDx. Earlier this year, the English and Science departments went to an inspiring TEDx conference in Denver. English teacher Deirdre White explains how the idea came to be. She said, “We wanted to bring the students to a conference, for them to have the same experience, but you can’t bring 500 students down to Denver. So we decided to bring the conference to the students.” Thus, REDx was born.

Anya Womack (20) stops to pet a peppy therapy dog

Deeper into the school, the auditorium is filled with an intrigued audience and passionate speakers. The student body has the privilege of listening to a variety of enlightening speeches from speakers including EHS students Morgan Koeltzow (20), Addie Randel (20), Tasia Derrea (20), Everett Slaugenhaupt (20), Cameron Shaw (22), Dawson Baucke (19), Alicia Wolfe (20), and Rinoa Womack (22). Also special appearances from guests Dr. Nora Feldpausch, Jason Newbie, and Elizabeth Sloker Burke. The conference is then concluded by science teacher Zac Lemon.

The speeches cover topics such as political diversity, how life is about the journey not the destination, understanding everyone’s differences, the effects of assumptions, the importance of everyone’s opinions, what depression and mental illness means, following passions, and seeing the world differently. Each speech gives the audience something to hold onto for the future since the purpose of REDx is for students to focus on mind, body, and spirit. These enlightening speeches helped the student body understand each aspect of this through a deeper meaning which they could relate to.

The day’s objective was a bit different for the speakers. It gave students a voice and platform to say what they wanted the world to hear. Speaker Addie Randel (20) said, “You can have opinions, have ideas, but you must also take it a step further and actually share them.” REDx truly brought this idea to life as students stood in front of their classmates to share what matters to them.

The reaction from the student body was a positive one as students embraced the objective of REDx, which was to allow students a day to focus on their personal needs. Ben Richter (22) said, “It has really brightened up my mood, being around other people and just playing frisbee and doing fly fishing.” Leah Fetzer (20) also said, “I think it’s a good way for them to realize our needs and the fact that they are different than just school.”

Staff members who helped make the day what it was gave students a fun way of expressing themselves while focusing on their own needs. Months ago, the students newspaper prompted the question of “What are you doing for us?” This created a conversation among staff and students which brought REDx as an answer. This overall revealed that the school truly cared. Kaitlyn Clevenger (19) said, “I really appreciate that they thought of us, I feel very appreciated today.”

English teacher Jaryn Guerra experiences VR

Although the day was very exciting and helpful for most, the student turnout brought some disappointment. The number of students closely correlated with the fact that some students didn’t know what to expect and didn’t understand the purpose.  English teacher Jaryn Guerra said, “What went on today exceeded most of the student’s expectations. People were not sure what was going to happen and they were hesitant, but I think most students got something good out of it and had fun. Hopefully in the future we can build a reputation that will make the turnout better.” Math teacher Kayla Johnson also said, “I look forward to seeing how it grows in the future. But I think there are a lot of kids missing out as they decided not to come today.”

English teacher Emily Sorenson spearheaded the idea. She has been preparing and organizing this event for months with other members of the English department and EHS staff. From seeking out the best approach for the day to providing students with what they need, Sorenson has been working tirelessly to make REDx the best it can be. Both she and other staff members believe the activities that took place on April 26 were a success. She said, “Students had plenty to talk about throughout the day. When I asked my advising class if they had pictures of their morning, their answer was ‘no! I’ve been so busy trying things I haven’t had a chance to be on my phone today.’  The fact that students chose to park their phones and enjoy the day speaks volumes—we gave them something meaningful and fulfilling to do.” The idea behind the day was for students to participate in experiences that gave them a reason to stay away from stress. A day for students to relax and enjoy what was in front of them, and that goal was achieved.

Eaton High School’s very first REDx will go down in history as a success. Booths and exhibits allowed students to participate in various activities that met each student’s interests, including kickboxing, mural painting, coloring, and fly fishing. EHS’s very own students used their voices to provide powerful speeches to their classmates, and outside speakers touched on important subjects that provoked conversations around both fun and difficult subjects. The student body and staff came together to pull off a day of positive mental health, connections, and relaxation. For most students, it was a great day to be an Eaton Red, and the REDx motto said it best: Red Strong. World Strong.