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October 12, 2017 06:13 PM

Harrisburg Students Learning Empathy At Challenge Day

Seventh graders at Harrisburg South are challenging each other to be positive and reduce conflict and bullying. It's all part of a six-hour long Challenge Day. 

Greeted by a tunnel of fun, these students are in for an emotional day filled with team-building workshops, high fives and a lot of support. 

"When I heard that Challenge Day was coming out, I ran home with the form and I was like, 'mom, mom, can I do this?' She was like of course you can. That's all we've been talking about all week," seventh grader Nevaeh Pryor said.

If you can't tell, Pryor is thrilled to be taking part this year. This is the fourth time Harrisburg South has hosted a Challenge Day. Counselor Betsy Atwood says the school counts on this event each year. 

"It's a day where we bring students together. We do a lot of things that are fun and positive and about team building," Atwood said. "But it's also a day where we talk about some of the more serious things that can happen in a young person's life as well as larger social issues."

"Last year I heard a lot about it and I saw a lot of people crying. So I was a little worried at first. Then, when I kind of figured out that we'd be playing games and I'd be with my friends. I was like this is great. Now they get to know me on a personal level. I get to know them. That just brings us closer together," Pryor said. 

It's a safe place to teach students about empathy. Since 1987, Challenge Day has reached more than 1.5 million adults and youth around the world.

"Empathy is knowing how other people feel and when you know how other people feel, you can relate to them more," Pryor said. 

And those relationships will be stronger than ever thanks to today's efforts. 

Challenge Day has taken place in more than 2,200 schools in 48 states and 10 countries. 

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