New Bruin Block encourages the building of relationships

Photo+by%3A+Ross+Parks

Photo by: Ross Parks

Ross Parks

Photo by: Ross Parks
Photo by: Ross Parks
As RBHS undergoes more changes than ever before in the approaching 2013- 2014 school year, one element of these changes may make things a little easier for the incoming grades to RBHS.
“Bruin Block is going to be a 31-minute period for ninth and tenth graders every day, Monday through Friday, in which we will have curriculum to orientate them to Rock Bridge,” said Deborah McDonough, RBHS English teacher and member of the committee responsible for the passing of Bruin block.
Bruin Block adds in a period for lower classmen to spend a set time together with a senior mentor and advisor. The advisor assigned to the class, when they first arrive here, will be the same as when they arrived. The idea is that by keeping the kids together, community is built and at the end of their experience a project is to be completed to reflect their time and activities here at RBHS. McDonough said
Still, for the coming year, the goal of Bruin Block is to, “provide a place and support for them [sophomores and freshmen] … and consistent guidance,” said Melisa Coil, RBHS head of guidance and head of the committee responsible for Bruin Block which will in later years, incorporate all four grades.
The vision is that the block will encourage community and self-assurance as a member of RBHS. Coil hopes Bruin Block will be much more than the former sophomore advisory, which she feels was not sufficient in involving the students beyond that one hour.
Coupled with time allotted for lunch, there is talk that, for a portion of the upperclassmen, Bruin Block will be consumed with senior meetings and even removed completely for making up lost time during assemblies McDonough said. Nevertheless, for most days Bruin Block remains unassigned will be butted up against lunchtime, for the two higher grades. Therefore, with this entire free-time people appear to have varying views as to what they plan on doing during their extra time.
“I’ll either do homework or go get food,” says sophomore Riley Widhalm, who seemed to be dogmatic in her view on the extra time for lunch. Still, while some may worry that this hour will be more time for things to go wrong, many may sympathize with the rationalization of Widhalm in that they, “don’t really know what problems will happen [during Bruin Block] that wouldn’t happen in AUT or advisory.” But not everyone feels the same.
“There will … be those people who take advantage of it,” sophomore Mariana Loza-Stealey said who felt that some might be unruly during their free time. However, she felt fine with the idea as long as people, “…don’t do crazy stuff.”
Either way, for most, the changes are viewed as yet another extension of the school motto of “freedom with responsibility.”
“The reality is… that the kids who are making the right choices now in their 31-minute lunch period are going to do the same thing in the 68-minute lunch period,” Coil said.
By Ross Parks