Every year during the third week of February, a widespread celebration is held in the commons of Bonneville High School. Hope Squad, Bonneville’s peer-to-peer suicide prevention group, orchestrates the jamboree known as Hope Week. Every year a new theme adorns this fun occasion. A few themes from previous years include “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Just Keep Swimming.” Each theme hints towards suicide prevention by focusing on having a lively mindset. Inspired by Disney’s The Lion King, “Hakuna Matata” theme helped remind students to discard their worries and see the good in life. Following the Disney theme, “Just Keep Swimming,” from Finding Nemo is meant to tell people to continue life and not give up. Last year’s theme, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” was based on Disney’s Toy Story and aimed to remind students they are not alone.
Each year, Hope Squad provides engaging, theme-based activities and games in which all students, and even some staff members, participate. Some of last year’s games included a candy guessing game in which students guess how many pieces were in the jar. Forky sporks came to life in the commons to live up to the Toy Story theme. On a different day, students were given star necklaces and had the opportunity to "steal" the star upon talking to another student. Inspired by one of Toy Story’s settings known as “Pizza Planet,” free pizza was served in the commons to celebrate the week. Each teacher was provided Hope Squad attire, such as sweatshirts, so they could correspond with the other teachers during the week.
This year the theme is “Go the Distance'' from Hercules. Rumors have been circulating that there will be an obstacle course this year, as well as activities for everyone to enjoy. In an effort to prevent the accidental exclusion that occurred in previous years, Hope Squad aims to make Hope Week more inclusive for all this year. According to the group’s advisor, Lori Baldwin, Hope Squad members have worked diligently to ensure all students are involved and can find something to fit their interest. This year’s Hope Week will work to incorporate fine arts students, special education students, LGBTQ+ students, and students of other clubs and interests, as well as inviting staff and faculty to participate in the fun. This year’s activities are mostly still a mystery though; could a dance party take place? Or perhaps more free food? Whatever is in store for Hope Week, Hope Squad will make it fun, inclusive, and equal for all!
In the lower E Wing, the Bonneville High School debate team has an extensive trophy case showcasing the past victories that the school has achieved. Hopefully, another trophy is soon to take place alongside the others, as the Bonneville debate team heads to yet another tournament. With many upcoming competitions, there are multiple opportunities for the team to receive new awards.
Firstly, Rigby High School hosts the Trojan War tournament, which is a major competition that prepares debaters from all over Idaho for the stressful District and National Qualifying tournaments. The Trojan War tournament began on the 27th of January, a day which coincidentally had no school, giving many of the students less work to come back to in the following week. Excitingly, the tournament offered the Duo Retold speech event, which is a unique event in which two students interpret a children’s story by improvising stage cues in a limited amount of time.
As for the various regional competitions, students have been preparing for the upcoming District and National Qualifying tournaments. The District tournament is divided between three schools: Blackfoot High School will host Congress, Madison High School will host the other debate events, and Skyline High school will host the unique Big Questions event in which students are given a major philosophical question and debate on the best answer.
For those uninformed about debate events, there are four main events, excluding Big Questions:
This time of year tends to be incredibly busy for the Bonneville debate team because of the various qualifying tournaments, which will decide who attends the important competitions and even allowing some students to attend the National tournament in Kentucky. The end of this year’s debate season is coming to an end in only a couple of months. Thus, it is crucial that the team succeeds in the upcoming competitions.
While absorbed in life’s joys and sorrows, traveling to a different country can be truly eye opening for some. Traveling expands a person’s horizons and introduces them to the unique cultures of other places. A survey was sent out in January to the faculty of Bonneville, and they were asked about their experiences with other countries. The following are just a few of the answers to the questions that were received.
Based on the responses, some educators have been to all sorts of places around the world, while some traveled to just one foreign country. When asked about the purposes behind why they traveled there, many were along the lines of religious missions, academic reasons, and vacations. A few answers that stood out were Mr. Dresen, who teaches a variety of fine arts courses, has traveled to attend musical events like the World Choral Symposium (organized every three years in a variety of places), and Mr. Piper, the US history, military history, and cold war teacher, was a lifeguard in Saudi Arabia. For those who saw a variety of places, their answers were quite informative. Mr. Pyper, who teaches freshman history and mythology, lived in Italy for a while. “This list would be very long because while in Italy, I lived in Rome, Florence, Naples, and on the island of Sardinia. I can say I saw everything in Italy.” He goes on to say about how that trip was what got him interested in teaching world history.
Visiting a new country introduces plenty of new cultural traditions. In terms of food, many of the responses spoke about how they enjoyed the meals, while some described dishes that did not quite appeal to them at first, but grew to love some of them. When asked about culture shocks while in those places, Mr. Piper described his as such: “Waking up on the airplane going to Arabia and all the passengers had switched into their traditional Arab clothing, men in white robes and women in black dresses and covered faces.” Piper also says that he was almost arrested due to disrupting a shop owner before prayer time. Language moreover plays a big part in the experience of it all. Ms. Hinson, one of the school counselors, learned Portuguese in Brazil, and that later helped them learn some other languages. “In Europe, Portuguese helped me pick up more manners and conversational phrases in French and Italian when visiting.”
There were two final questions at the end of the interviews. The first being what their favorite souvenirs from those places were. Many bought items, ranging from clothing articles to small items such as miniature versions of landmarks. A few responded that their memories were much more valuable than any tangible item. The second question was if they would go to those places again or if they would recommend it to someone else. Many said they would, some already planning another trip somewhere, like Mrs. Coffield who is preparing for a German-American exchange program in 2024. A few said no to specifically traveling to the Middle East areas due to the conflicts and not traveling there at this time.
Thank you to the educators who were willing to take the time to answer in the interview, both those who were quoted in the article and those who were not. Traveling gives exposure to cultures that share the earth together, and helps gain an understanding of each other. Stepping outside of what someone calls home is quite the challenge. Perhaps the journey will be worth the struggle in the end when the traveler can tell their exciting adventures to those around them, either in present times or in the future.