October 2008

Editor’s Note: October 2008

Author: M.Washo Editor-in-Chief | Photographer: photography by anne

I often feel that I lead a somewhat selfish existence. The only creature I have to look after is my dog, and his needs are somewhat minimal. I look at my sister with three children, a cat, a puppy and a full-time job and wonder how in the world she manages to pull it all off—with any bit of her sanity in tact. Did I mention she is my younger sister?

It was with these thoughts on my mind that I decided to participate in Challenge Day, a three-day program that recently took place with the eighth grade students of Hilton Head Middle School. As any editor of any magazine, I receive calls all day, every day, asking for space in the magazine to tell this story or that. Most are for charity events, some are for personal benefit, and some are just to make the public aware of something that is relevant to our community.

Kim Gartner, a science teacher at Hilton Head Middle School, called to ask if CH2 would be interested in covering the story, but she also asked if we would participate as “adult facilitators” of the day (see story on page 94). We did. Paul deVere, Morgan O’Banion and I woke up at 6 a.m. (at which point I was already feeling empathetic towards the plight of eighth graders) to be at the school by 7:30 a.m. We didn’t really know what exactly to expect—and I think all three of us got more than we bargained for.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have led a somewhat sheltered life. Raised in a small town in upstate NY with a very close, big (seven of us!), and religious family, most of the things teenagers are dealing with today are things I didn’t even come into contact with until I was in my twenties. Drugs, alcohol, violent death of loved ones, racism, sex. And we live on Hilton Head Island. Not New York City. It was an eye-opener, to say the least.

My heart went out to the young people we met that day, and I think Challenge Day might have touched me as much as it (hopefully) did them. I left the school feeling emotionally exhausted, with a new respect for the teachers that are not only teaching today’s children how to read and write, but are acting as guidance counselors, parents and friends to their kids as well.

I would like to thank everyone at the Hilton Head Middle School for inviting me to share Challenge Day with you.

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