Breaking Down the Walls at YLHS

Mabel Ra, Editor

Breaking Down the Walls is a program that focuses on bringing students and teachers together. It works to “break down” barriers that separate students based on false judgments of each other and hopes to create a sense of a community on campus. Many Mustangs were selected and nominated by teachers to experience this program during the week of December 6-8.


Breaking Down the Walls at YLHS started the week off with a school wide assembly. All students on campus were able to participate on this day. The speaker talked about his experiences with other kids from different schools, tying in that students from across the United States are experiencing similar struggles as Mustangs. Emphasizing that getting to know more about people on a deeper level was an invaluable characteristic, students were encouraged to reflect on not judging others’ struggles. Afterwards, a series of activities were completed across the gym with all the students participating.


The rest of the week consisted of the nominated students who were able to participate in more series of bonding activities. Students were separated among three days: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Each day, Breaking Down the Walls lasted from 1st period to the end of the school day.


First, students were guided down into the gymnasium and the speaker began a brief talk. He explained about different struggles that different people endure. While it’s difficult to always know the right thing to do/say, it’s important to not make false judgments of one another. The participants were then led to the gym floor to play different bonding activities. For instance, students were taught how to introduce themselves properly, talk about themselves to others in addition to listening to others’ stories, and being a good partner to the new people they were exposed to.


Each person shifted partners multiple times, often with people that they did not previously know. Students learned names, backgrounds, experiences, and struggles with one another. After activities, students were separated into different groups with trained leaders. In these groups, students participated in more bonding exercises, as well as answering questions.


Later on, all the participants gathered together once again for a final group activity, “Cross the Line.” The activity worked as such: The speaker states, “Cross the line if you have ever…” and if a student can relate, he or she crosses the line. As the speaker talked more, the questions became more serious and difficult for some students to acknowledge the statement and cross the line. When other students would cross the line for emotional reasons, the remaining students would cover their hearts with their hands as a form of support. This activity was tear-jerking, eye-opening, and an emotional ride. It exposed students to the hardships that other students have endured or are still currently enduring. The goal of the activity was to encourage tolerance among the students and educate them that it’s important to never judge a person without giving the time to get to know them on a personal level. Amina Abdelbary (11) was a participant of Friday’s Breaking Down the Walls and saw it as an “emotional experience that changed [her[ perspective on how [she] viewed others.”


Breaking Down the Walls was a motivational and life-changing experience that sent a message of tolerance and caring to all the participants involved. Yorba Linda High School students that participated were able to experience a journey that will forever leave an impact on the way they perceive and acknowledge others.