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Students break ground at Point Break workshop

By: Cheri March The News Messenger
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From the outside, Point Break might have looked like just fun and games. But to participants, the recent day-long Lincoln High School workshop was about something far more groundbreaking. The whole idea is to bring the harmony back, said Jim Spratling, a high school counselor who helped organize last week's event. Approximately 120 students, from freshmen to seniors, spent Feb. 28 at McBean Park Pavilion participating in Lincoln's first-ever Point Break. The program, which is already used at Rocklin, Roseville and other area high schools, centers around exercises meant to break down social barriers on campus. You get the experience to meet people you wouldn't know otherwise, said Lincoln student Carlo Limon, 18. All the cliques are gone. You feel close to everyone. To play each game, students must rely on their peers. In one exercise, for example, students pretended they were in a raft and had to hug one another to keep from falling overboard. In another, they held hands in a circle as a hula hoop was passed over each person while music played. If the music stopped, the person left touching the hoop had to take a bite of baby food. Increased interaction might be one way to bring back a camaraderie lost amid the high school's surging population, reasoned 18-year-old senior Joanna Loya. Lincoln High School is growing so big and all of us have our different divisions, she said. It's not the same little Lincoln anymore. For Ashley Brown, 17, the workshop provided a new sense of empathy. The most poignant moment was with a girl I knew last year, she said. We weren't really friends; we were in the same class and we had opposing viewpoints. Through an exercise called knee-to-knee, hand-to-hand, eye-to-eye “ in which students literally face each other with knees and hands together, making eye contact “ the two were able to connect, she said. We found out we had similar backgrounds “ we've both had kind of bad starts so far “ and we both ended up crying, she said. The program's impact even surprised one of its organizers, Lincoln English teacher Lori Sipkovich. I'm impressed with how level the playing field feels right now, Sipkovich said. I think they all came in here with a lot of categories they had put themselves and others in, but I think those are starting to break down. They seem to be looking at each other on level ground. Point Break was sponsored by Lincoln's parks and recreation department. For more information about the program, go online at www.pointbreakonline.com.