Written By: Kyoko Downey
“There are 2400 students at NHHS, Meet Them”
For weeks the colorful posters have decorated every hallway advertising the *Bridges’ first ever Mix-it-Up at lunch, members handing out lollipops, sign-up sheets in hand collecting names and numbers for the highly anticipated event.
Come April 27th a wave of curiosity came awash campus as rows of tables extended past the science stairs and zen garden, every blue chair quickly inhabited by a smiling face, most of which reached for one of the many plentiful treats to be found. President of the organization, Jose a la Torre beckoned and welcomed all to join in the activity, speed friendships, which as the name lends itself is a more platonic, less pressured version of speed dating, assisted by a single question each round to deter chances of awkward encounters.
And so, it began with a mixture of smiles, nods, and handshakes as names and ideas were exchanged the entirety of that very special extended lunch. Students of every ethnicity, grade, and background conglomerated into a medley of friendliness in a judgement free environment to step outside atypical friend zones and cliques.
Despite the enticing ideals of friendship, incentives were put in place, raffle tickets drawn a multitude of times with awards of gift cards to In-n-Out and Yogurtland which for those lucky students such as sophomore Natalie Gess made the event “worth it and then some.”
Among the most prominent clubs on campus, Bridges had been working tirelessly for the gratification of hosting the single day with planning, poster making, and advertising, the genuine smiles plastered onto each member’s face, most especially coordinator and staff adviser, Mrs. Pogue, demonstrating the obvious pride and feelings of success from one of their biggest projects to date.
While perhaps it did not cause immediate relationships, the event displayed for many students, those watching and participating, the uplifting individuality of every student at Newport Harbor and ease of finding a kind face willing to both listen and talk. Truly following their mantra, the walls of the sailor community are slowly being torn down, and bridges in their replacement.
*Bridges is a primarily student-run organization on the Newport Harbor Campus that is focused on the unity of the sailor community and features an open leadership system. For those interested in participating and planning such events they meet every Thursday in Mrs. Pogue’s room Sims 286