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The Tinley Junction 021617

24 | February 16, 2017 |

24 | February 16, 2017 | The tinley junction Life & Arts Titans teacher challenges students to 100-day challenge Brittany Kapa, Assistant Editor A teacher at Tinley Park High School is asking her students to take 30 seconds out of their day to think about what makes them happy. Jen Simak, a physical education and health sciences teacher at Tinley Park High School, has asked her students to post one photo to Twitter that makes them happy everyday for the next 100 days. The idea came from a challenge started by Dmitry Golubnichy, who set out to change his perspective on life. In the fall of 2013, Golubnichy started to post one picture a day that made him happy. Golubnichy’s challenge was well-received online and amassed a following. Now, more than 8 million people have participated in over 160 countries, and counting. “I saw some people doing it online, and we were in the mental emotional part of our unit, so I thought that it would be a great tie in,” Simak said of incorporating the challenge into her health sciences class. “There’s a lot of negativity going on in our world, and I think that having 30 seconds of positivity to your day would be a great thing to bring to the classroom and the school.” Simak created a Twitter account and with the help of Katie Udstuen, the school’s media specialist, Simak planned out the challenge. The challenge officially started Feb. 6 and will conclude by May 16, just one day before the seniors graduate. Simak encouraged her freshman students to participate but it is not a requirement. Others in the school have jumped on the 100-day challenge, and use #100HappyDays and #TPTitans to tag their photos. “I hope that they take some time to reflect on their actual day, and are appreciative of the things that they have and the things that they’re surrounded by,” Simak said. Freshman Collin Standish has been posting photos of his hobbies. His first photo was of his trombone Tinley Park High School principal Theresa Nolan (left) and Jen Simak pose in front of Simak’s photo board , which was decorated to display students 100 Happy Days challenge photos. Brittany Kapa/22nd Century Media that he plays in the school band. For day two, he posted a photo of his Titans soccer jersey. “In the beginning, I heard it was extra credit, but it wasn’t only that,” Standish said of participating. “I heard it increased your happiness in life.” Standish’s classmate Carolina Padilla has been taking notice of what her classmates have been posting. She said it’s been inspiring to witness what her classmates have been sharing and to get a glimpse into what makes everyone happy. “I feel it’s another opportunity to take a moment and realize what really makes you happy like every day,” Padilla said. Simak has enlisted a few of her senior leaders to print out the photos from Twitter and display them “I feel it’s another opportunity to take a moment and realize what really makes you happy like every day.” Carolina Padilla – TPHS student, on the 100 Happy Days challenge on a board in her classroom for all to see. “I thought it was really cool, especially since the last day would be the last day before our graduation,” senior Jessica Griffin said. “I thought it would be a really cool way to countdown the last 100 days of senior year.” Griffin said that not all of her friends are doing it, but that she is taking part. Griffin posted a photo of her and her cousin downtown, and said she likes to look at what others are posting. “My one friend, he’s a photographer so he likes to edit a bunch of things,” Griffin said. “There was one day where the clouds were really cool, and he edited it to look like streaks. It almost looked like a painting.” Faculty at Tinley Park have been participating as well, and Principal Theresa Nolan is excited about what this challenge will mean for her students. Nolan uses the Tinley Park High School’s official Twitter account to post photos daily on the school’s behalf. “I’m so tired with being inundated with so much of the negative that surrounding our world today,” Nolan said. “I think sometimes people think teenagers are negative, and they’re absolutely not negative.” Nolan added she hopes the school does not lose steam throughout the challenge, and that there are just as many posts on day one and two, as there will be on day 100. “My hope is – students, teachers or whoever is participating or taking a look at this – can really understand and see all the things that make people happy,” Nolan said. Life & Arts the tinley junction | February 16, 2017 | 25 Daddy-daughter dance brings families together Megann Horstead Freelance Reporter The gymnasium at St. George School transformed into a dance floor fit for Valentine’s Day Feb. 11, as children who donned gowns and corsages were accompanied by their fathers and grandfathers for a night on the town. The inaugural My Guy & Me dance drew a crowd of guests as it was intended to create a space where memories are made. LaTunya Bradley, a coordinator for the festivities, greeted guests as they arrived and took to the red carpet. The inaugural event was expected to bring in 115 people, she said. “We’ve talked about getting together with the dads and daughters and doing something special to highlight that relationship,” Bradley said. “We wanted to put this on at the Valentine’s season to make sure we honor the relationship.” The room was equipped with all the necessities for the special occasion. Balloons floated in the air, a dance floor was set up with a DJ that spun music and colored lights flashed. Children and their parents also waited in line for the photo booth in between bites of food and bits of conversation. From the chicken dance and the cha-cha slide to slow dancing and the hokey-pokey, the My Guy & Me dance pulled out all the stops to provide children and their parents with an experience they would not forget. Bradley said the event’s importance rings true for many. “I think it’s an opportunity for the dads or granddads or aunts or uncles to participate solely with their child,” she said. “It gives them a chance to bond and build a relationship. It’s a memorable event; it’s something that you’ll take away with you.” Just ask George Wilson, of Matteson. He sat at a table decorated with white tablecloth watching his 11-yearold daughter, Faith Wilson, from afar as she mingled with friends. “It’s good to actually invite us out,” Wilson said. “[I] anticipate dancing and taking pictures.” Wilson said bonding with his daughter is important to him. “I think that we do bond a lot, but I just think that evenings like this kind of help along with the process,” he said. Francesco Minonne, of Tinley Park, said he’s glad he and his 8-year- old daughter, Celia Minonne, decided to step out together for an evening of fun. “It seems like a nice social event [to] get together [and] meet some of the fathers I’ve never met,” he said. “My daughter has a good time being with her friends.” Minonne was enjoying bites of food between bits of conversation as he sat next to his daughter. “After working all day, weekends and nights, it’s a nice break and a nice way to introduce her to dating and what it’s like to be out socializing on a whole different level, not just going to dinner or hanging out,” he said. “She gets a chance to dress up a little bit and look nice, and [I get to] show her what a gentleman does when you go out on a date.” Minonne said this was one event he was looking forward to attending. “They actually sent out a flyer in my daughter’s class,” he said. Minonne said he sees himself returning to the My Guy & Me dance if another should be hosted next year. “So far, I think [I would come back for] the photo A DJ spins music throughout the evening as part of the inaugural My Guy & Me at St. George School in Tinley Park. Photos by Megann Horstead/22nd Century Media booth,” he said. “My daughter seems [to like] the photo booth. That would be the first part.” Bob Bonner, also of Tinley Park, was in attendance for the My Guy & Me dance with his 8-year-old niece Breana. He said he enjoys seeing her involved in school activities. “It seems like it’s fun for all the girls,” Bonner said. “They’re just running around acting crazy.” Bonner said after learning of the event, he made it a priority to go with his niece. “She’s new at the school,” he said. “This is her first year, we just want to be a part of all the events and be more part of the school and just take part in things and contribute.” Bonner said he would surely return to the My Guy & Me dance if the school hosted another next year. “I want her to have as many opportunities to meet other kids and be a part of the school [as much] as possible,” he said. ABOVE: Robert McAvoy, right, and his daughter Leah McAvoy, 7, show off their moves during the dance at the St. George School gym. LEFT: Guests pack the St. George School gymnasium for the inaugural dance while enjoying food, drinks and a photo booth.