Grade 7s and 8s ran wild through the halls of Barriere Secondary School on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 28.
After a special barbecue lunch, exclusively for the secondary school newbies, students split into teams and began a fast-paced search for puzzle pieces.
Brian Tommasini was the mastermind behind the afternoon’s festivities.
Mirroring a scavenger hunt/escape room type of quest, he said it was just meant to be a “really cool way to introduce new kids to the school.”
Tommasini, who is an administrative intern at the school, got the idea for the quest from a leadership development program he is doing.
He said a huge focus of the program is critical thinking.
A curriculum of teaching is important, but, “real world learning looks so different,” said Tommasini.
While the quest was only for the Grade 7s and 8s, the entire school got involved.
Teams had to go into classes for many of the stations, to solve a puzzle laid out by that teacher.
In some cases, they had to engage with other students or ask for help.
Principal Paul Hembling said the theme of the day was teamwork, inclusion and participation.
“We basically want the kids to feel part of the school community.”
This is the first year Grade 7s and 8s have been integrated into Barriere Secondary School.
School District 73 made the decision back in April and, according to Hembling, the transition has been “seamless” and “positive right from the start.”
He said he hoped Friday’s exercise would teach the new kids to work together, problem solve and to not be afraid to talk to people.
“Just because you don’t know people yet doesn’t mean you won’t and that they can’t be helpful to you.”
In the end, it came down to two teams who tied for first place by each finding 10 puzzle pieces.
A spontaneous tie breaker crowned one team victorious and the cafeteria erupted in cheers.
All-in-all, Tommasini said everybody was smiling and it worked out well.