A new program at Oologah High School is combating cliques and stereotypes by putting all their students in the gym together for the day.
The program, "Breaking Down the Walls," is hosted by former Broken Arrow Public Schools staff member Jason "J.J." Jedamski.
J.J. uses games like tag, and one-on-one partnered conversations to introduce students to other classmates they may not have met before.
"We're connecting with students from all different backgrounds that we probably don't talk to most days in the halls," senior Matthew Garrison said.
Jedamski said the point of the program is to encourage the students to share stories with one another to make them feel more connected.
"It's hard to hate somebody whose story you know," he said. "And that's kind of the philosophy of 'Breaking Down the Walls.'"
"Oologah is a decent-sized school when you think 550 kids, and you go, 'Man, can we make that school a little smaller just by connecting students through stories?'" he continued.
Junior Kenzie Chacon said it's easy to stick to what (and who) you know, rather than branch out of your comfort zone.
"There's a lot of cliques in this school," she said. "There is in a lot of schools."
"I'm guilty of staying within my inner circle, but today I really feel like I'm breaking out of that," she continued.
Because of Jedamski, the students said they're learning skills you can use inside, and outside, the walls of Oologah High.
"Introducing yourself with a handshake, a handshake means a lot," Garrison said. "So it's really great for kids to get communication skills and really get to know people."
Jedamski travels to schools all over the area to host "Breaking Down the Walls" workshops. Click here to find out more: https://www.learningforliving.com/aboutus.