LHS tests out first “DARING Day”


Sarah Bennett

A student participates in creating a mask to represent themselves through images and words.

LHS held its first-ever DARING day on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The programming was mainly centered around freshmen and sophomores, who had a shortened schedule starting at 8:45 a.m. and ending at 12:30 p.m. Scheduled during this time were activities where students had the chance to learn about GPAs, explore job and career opportunities and make masks that represented who they are. 

DARING is an acronym that summarizes the district’s mission statement; it stands for Dreamers and Doers, Aware, Resilient and Healthy, Inquisitive, Nimble and Global.

 “The Mission of Community High School District 128 is to develop graduates who are DARING,” reads the mission statement poster. “Students explore and discover personal journeys to meaningful post-secondary pursuits.”

Freshmen started their day making a mask, participating in a program led by the Art Impact Project, a nonprofit organization based in Lake Forest. Magazines were spread out across tables and the students were given time to cut out words or pictures that meant something to them. On the inside of the mask, the words and pictures represented things that others may not know about them. The outside part of the mask represented what everybody else sees and knows about someone. 

The project’s leaders talked about the true meaning of a mask, explaining that it’s something people can use to cover up, protect, hide or disguise themselves. This activity is designed to help students express themselves and feel confident about who they are. 

Sophomores first went through a presentation given by various teachers and staff members. They explained the importance of being yourself and finding what you love to do. One way this was done was by showing a motivational speech from rapper Denzel Curry, called “Fail Big.” 

During the presentation, students were given a candy bar and a handout of various jobs associated with six different career pathways: Engineering, Manufacturing and Technology; Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Art, AV Technology and Communications; Finance and Business Services; Health Science and Technology; and finally, Human and Public Services. They were instructed to use this list and write down every job that went into making the candy bar. Through this, students were able to see just how many different occupations went into making one candy bar; these include, for example, a food inspector and the semi-truck drivers who deliver these products. 

Finally, the sophomores logged into Xello, an online program that aims to help people create a successful future through self-knowledge, exploration and planning, according to the presentation shown to students. Students then answered questions Xello had for them, with the goal of helping students figure out their interests and possible career opportunities for the future. 

Both grades, at the end of their first sessions, were presented with a presentation about growth mindset, called “Thinking like a Wildcat.” Through this presentation, they were taught three beliefs. The first belief is, “I can learn anything,” encouraging students to have  a growth mindset rather than a fixed one. The second belief is, “I can overcome challenges and failures. I have GRIT,” with grit defined as sustained effort over time. The third belief reads, “Real learning is hard and often uncomfortable. We learn through productive struggle.”

When both grades were done with their initial activities, they switched and did the other activity that was set up.

Some juniors, those who registered, took the PSAT exam. This was offered to help students practice for the spring’s SAT and to give students an opportunity at National Merit scholarships.

Seniors were encouraged to use this day to work on college applications. English teachers were posted in the Write Place to assist them with their essays, and students came in throughout the morning to have their essays edited.