First ROAR of the calendar year goes out as a hit


Photo by Sasha

A few of the attendees at the January ROAR event included new reporter Ja’Nyah Villa, freshman.

By Sasha Baumgartner, Editor-in-Chief

On Jan. 28, the first ROAR of the year at West Chicago Community High School took place, providing students with food, team building challenges, and guidance as they navigate through the four years of high school.

Sixty-six participating students gathered into the (Learning Resource Center (LRC) at the start of the school day to participate in ROAR activities. Students began by participating in games in a large group, getting to know fellow peers, teachers and the student ROAR mentors.

Following the introductory activities, attendees then moved on to smaller groups, each led by two ROAR mentors. After meeting the people in their group, ROAR mentors are able to move on to deeper exercises designed to help students form connections.

“ROAR is all about making WEGO a community of caring, therefore, we want the students and staff to realize how strong the connections and similarities are among students, make sure than everyone feels included and welcome, have a unique experience during their high school experience, create a more empathetic environment among the student body, and most importantly, have fun,” Jennifer Culbertson, a ROAR adviser, said.

Some of the ROAR mentors pose for a photo in the LRC on Jan. 20. (Photo by Sasha Baumgartner)

Mid-day at ROAR, there was a motivational speaker, David Exner, art teacher at West Chicago Community High School. Exner, who is retiring this year, was invited to spread wisdom among the adolescents and talk about time spent here at WEGO. The speech was a real turning point in the day, as it added more seriousness to a day that had otherwise been filled with fun and games.

Exner’s speech was one that had depth behind the words. “Mr. Exner’s speech inspired a lot of us to think about what makes us happy and to value our own well-being,” freshman Jessie Myers said.

With a few more meaningful activities in the afternoon, ROAR prepared to close up for the day. At the conclusion of the event, individuals had the opportunity to participate in an open mic opportunity in which anyone could go up, speak their mind, and talk about the experiences they had. The day ended with several smiling faces and a few tears were shed.

An attendee at the event commented after the open mic, and described ROAR as “chill. I like it,” junior Rory Rudden said.

As the bell rang and students left the LRC, they conversed with their fellow peers that they had spent the day getting to know through a multitude of activities. “The day was a lot of fun, with a good combination of large and small group activities. I was afraid communication within our groups was going to feel forced, but we conversed very naturally and got along very well,” said Freshman Jessie Myers.

Becoming a student ROAR mentor is a leadership based task, as one must be able to interact with people and serve as a strong leader among peers. Their job is to basically run the entire event, encouraging all the students to participate in conversation and activities throughout the day.

Junior Mia Valliquette reflects on her time as a ROAR mentor this year and recalls her favorite thing about being a ROAR mentor is “getting to know people that I usually wouldn’t see around school or aren’t my age. It’s fun to get to know all kinds of people.”