Challenge Success helps students stress less

  • November 30, 2016
By Andie Chung
     How would you define success? It can be defined in a multitude of ways, but most students at La Cañada label themselves by their GPA, SAT scores, or what college they get accepted to. This builds up the unnecessary pressure and anxiety that students face, and as colleges become more competitive, so does the drive to “succeed.” But can we really say students are succeeding if it comes at the expense of their mental stability? We need to challenge the definition of success, so that it can allow students to become more than a simple number on a 4.0 grade scale.

The Challenge Success program has seen nationwide success ever since its founding in 2003.  The program was developed by Madeline Levine, Ph.D., Jim Lobdell, M.A., and Denise Pope, Ph.D.. It partners with schools and families to provide kids with the social, academic, and emotional skills they need to succeed in the future. It has served over 800,000 people in over 130 school communities, inspired schools to reduce homework, change school schedules, and modify assessments.
     At the beginning of the school year, our school sent two juniors, Averi Suk and Ryan Chen, and team of teachers, parents and administrators to Stanford University so that they could understand more about the program and implement it at our school. 8th graders Josh Fung and Ellaney represented the Middle School team.
Both Averi Suk and Ryan Chen attended intensive conferences where they designed action plans to implement in focal areas, such as testing, homework, school schedule, and an overall healthy school climate. Although the program is still relatively new at our school, we hope that its effect will allow students to develop a better lifestyles and a healthier perspective.
     “It was extremely inspiring to see all of these schools which have been able to institute programs to help the students be less stressed, especially because so many students at this school suffer from high levels of stress and anxiety from the academic stress and competition,” Averi commented.
When talking about our school, Ryan claimed, “This program focuses on everything for our students. I personally think that many of our students struggle with stress and anxiety in their life, and that is due to pressures from students, teachers, and parents alike.”
     Currently, there is a group of teachers, parents, and students who are dedicated to helping the students of La Cañada High School. As representatives, the students relay their personal stresses as well as the problems they see throughout the student body in order to provide an accurate description of the issues LCHS students face and endure.
So why the surveys?
     Over the course of the past two weeks, all 7-12 students at La Cañada High School participated in a survey that was created by Stanford University. The thoughtful responses are given to Stanford University, and researchers there send back information and strategies that our school can use in order to create a more academically balanced life.
     “I have the wonderful opportunity to travel with a team of administrators, counselors, and parents to Stanford twice a year to identify strengths and weaknesses of our school and to help develop an action plan to improve the school climate,” Ryan Chen said.

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