‘Vibe check’

WHS students unite for The Guy and Girl Thing

Grace Friedberg and Viggo Jabon

On Feb. 28, WHS hosted The Guy and Girl Thing, an annual evening event promoting a theme of inclusion. Organized and run by WHS Health Teacher Susan Kolesar, the event is a night of bonding, sharing, understanding and having fun. From dodgeball to a photo booth, there are endless activities that students can take part in, and the event has a brand new theme every year to give it a fresh look and feel for returning students. This year’s theme was the 60s with the catchphrase, “vibe check.”

While The Guy and Girl Thing provides many chances to have fun with friends, it also gives WHS students and alumni the opportunity to share  and discuss past experiences in the hopes of educating peers about how to deal with personal struggles.

Photo by Susan Kolesar
Attendees do a “vibe check”

The program started in 2004 as The Guy Thing when many male students expressed to Kolesar that health class only dealt with “girl issues.” Listening to their request, Kolesar created The Guy Thing, an event where male students could come together and bond over certain topics. However, when girls advocated to Kolesar for having their own event, Kolesar decided to bring the two together and created The Guy and Girl Thing.

“[It began] really just to bond students and to have seniors give back and feel that their stories had meaning and for all students to learn from the experiences, the successes and the challenges of the upperclassmen,” said Kolesar.

Speaking in front of a crowd of around 200 people takes a lot of courage, and Kolesar said she and the  rest of the staff truly respect and appreciate the students that decided to speak at the event. “After speaking, I felt a sense of relief. My story is a part of my life I don’t share with others, but attending the event last year made me realize I might be able to help others by sharing my experience,” said WHS senior Arthur Robbins-Geller who spoke at the recent event. “[It] feels like such a safe place [with the] mix of adult and student speakers. The mix provides a range of stories that help strengthen others.”

Prior to the event, Kolesar addressed the importance of the night to her as she treats it like her second child. She is passionate about the event and feels it has an impact on all the students. Kolesar said, “I know that for students who shared, it has had a huge effect on them and even the students who are listening have opened up. The event has made kids open up to their friends and really get to know each other far better than they ever thought they could.”

Freshman Ethan Stack said, “Coming to the event really makes me feel relieved. I will definitely be back here next year. I loved hearing everybody’s stories, and it was an amazing experience. I recommend it to everybody.”