What to Expect from Choice Day

Taylor Switzer

With the implementation of Fishers High School’s “Day of Service”, Hamilton Southeastern High School is also adding a new event to their school calendar. On April 28th, 2023, the school will be replacing the traditional seven-period schedule with a seven-period “Choice Day”, where students can sign up for a variety of fun, educational, or relaxing activities run by teachers.


Why Choice Day?

Choice Day was piloted with freshmen and sophomore classes during Pathways periods earlier in the year to get students engaged and connected. It was originally an alternative to the traditional PowerPoints that are presented during mandatory Pathways meetings.

As stated in the name, Choice Day is dedicated to giving students a choice. While attendance is mandatory, there is no requirement about what they must sign up for. Mrs. Brown, an assistant principal at HSE and organizer of the event, encourages students to do a variety of activities since another major goal is to get them engaged with each other. She says that “The goal of Choice Day is to allow staff and students alike to participate in interests outside of traditional academic classes and to interact with new people, all in an effort to continue to build community and connection within our very large school.”

With the semester nearing its end, the event is also a chance to alleviate any burn-out students may have by allowing them to study and get academic support, distract themselves with playing games, or spend time with friends. Many teachers may use the day to give practice exams in addition to their allotted academic support time, as well as offer support for specific courses.


What Will Be Offered?

   School Staff will be hosting activities that generally fall under one of the six following categories: academic, special interest, games, outdoor/active/sports, movies/reading, and other.

Each teacher is required to have at least one academic support period during the day, though some may have more or use it as support for one specific course. There will be plenty of study spaces to use throughout the day as well. Many teachers may also host review games, practice tests, or tutoring for their students like Mr. Roberts’s AP Stats “Buzzer Game”. There will also be ILEARN make-ups and 21st Century Scholars meetings during this day.

Aside from these academic spaces, the “special interest” offerings are the main category of Choice Day. This includes a wide range of activities like how-to’s, interesting lectures, guest speakers, and more. Mr. Dunham and Mr. Taylor will be cooking pancakes in the morning, while Mr. Roush will hold a marching band show design clinic in the afternoon. Guest speakers like veterans will be present, with Ms. Matthews hosting author Chris Closure and a fiction writing workshop. There will be special lectures about topics including Star Trek and Axolotls, art activities like jewelry making, and introductions to various activities like soldering, backpacking, and metal detecting. There will also be several open-discussion style groups, like Mrs. Torres’s Broadway Musical Café.

A variety of games, like Mr. Squire’s video game room, will be available. Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Darlington will be doing jigsaw puzzles all day and multiple teachers will have euchre or sudoku. Other games offered will include Scattergories, Yahtzee, Uno, and more.

On top of these, there will be options to play some games outside like Spike Ball or cornhole. Plenty of sports and movement-based activities will be offered as well. This includes pickleball with Mr. Moore, CrossFit, walks, and Ms. Maxwell’s Just Dance in the morning. Mrs. Habig will be conducting a landscape project all day and Mrs. Lee is working with students to plant a butterfly garden outside. All outdoor activities are weather dependent, so teachers should all have a backup plan in case of a raincheck.

If students would like to step back from the activity and relax, movies and reading opportunities will be given as well. Movies shown will include “42”, “On the Basis of Sex”, “Ratatouille” in French, and “Encanto” in Spanish, plus additional Disney movies. Plenty of independent reading spaces or available along with social reading spaces like Book Club/ Swap with Ms. Porter.

Other miscellaneous offerings include CPR certification with Mrs. Brobst, peer tutoring, aiding, or karaoke.

Students can sign up using Enriching Students, with detailed instructions on how in the “Class of” Canvas pages along with more information.


What Will the Schedule Look Like?

Choice Day will follow the traditional seven-period day schedule of 40-minute classes. Lunch will be served during 3rd period as usual and students’ lunch times will be determined by what teacher they are signed up for at that time.

All students are required to attend school on April 28th unless they are called out following the usual attendance procedure. Attendance will be taken for each period.

Seniors with Flex must stay for their Flex periods. “There is not an efficient way to police who will be signing up for Flex,” Mrs. Brown says, explaining that Enriching Students and Skyward schedules don’t communicate and there are too many students to check if they actually have Flex by hand.


Student Opinions

Students have mixed opinions about the new event as the anticipation builds. Many have already signed up out of excitement while others may be dreading it or planning to skip.

“It’s taking away a lot of valuable time,” says sophomore Hannah VanLandingham, explaining that “Finals are very soon, and instead of spending more time with our teachers or having a day at home to rest we’re doing random activities to fill the time while FHS has a volunteer day”.

This sentiment is shared by many throughout the school, with students on the other side saying that they’re looking forward to spending time with friends and teachers during all the fun activities, like sophomore Alyssa Lock, saying, “I think it’s really cool. I’m super excited for it, and I think it’s going to be really fun.”


The Future of Choice Day

Choice Day will follow an every-other-year plan in the future in tandem with the Day of Service hosted by Fishers Highschool this year. Each year, the schools will switch which day they participate in.

In the future, Mrs. Brown hopes to get more student input about what activities should be offered. She explains that this year all the activities were all determined by staff and it’s her vision to give students more of a voice.

Students can sign up in Enriching Students during their Pathways period or in their free time. They’re encouraged to pick a variety of activities and use academic support time if needed as finals and AP Exams approach.