Carihi’s students and staff have been challenged to put away their cell phones and unplug for part of the first week of June 2018.
Ditch the Device is a campaign put together by Carihi Foods teacher Zoe Tehennepe to encourage people to step away from their screen and into society.
“It’s a contest, really… to get students off their phones for a minute,” says Teheneppe. “[We need to] start thinking… maybe we don’t need it all the time. Maybe it’s not all super good for us.”
For three days in the first week of June students are encouraged to turn their phones into stations around the school. And the contest isn’t limited to students; staff are also invited and encouraged to participate and put away their devices.
“It’s not just a youth problem anymore,” says Tehennepe. “It’s becoming… globally recognized, but it’s hard to do something about because it’s so ingrained [in society]. So everybody in the entire school is encouraged to turn in their phones at lunch time. We want to make it a bit longer… the first day could be lunch, then the next day could be lunch until the end of the day, but it gets… tricky with kids getting on busses and stuff like that.”
Students and staff who turn in their phones in are given a raffle ticket to put in the draw of their choice. The prizes offered are experience based; last year’s prizes included helicopter tours and whale watching tours. This year Tehennepe hopes to have more prizes at slightly lesser values, in hopes of increasing the chances that students will win a prize.
“Even if it’s not… going on a whale watching tour or a helicopter tour like last year, which we should get again, [we’ll have] stuff like painting supplies, or gift cards to bookstores, just anything to get you doing something.”
Ditch the Device was popular last year, with 260 people – nearly one-third of the school – participating. Tehennepe hopes to see the cell phones of at least half of the school turned in this year.
“To get anything going in the school is kind of tricky,” says Tehennepe. “It’s always hard to figure out how we’re going to get information out there.”
Another goal of Tehennepe’s is to spread the campaign to other schools, and she encourages anybody who is interested in getting involved to do so.
“It would be really cool if other schools were doing it, too,” says Tehennepe. “It would be so cool if all of Vancouver Island [participated]. That’s my new goal for next year!”
For more information on Ditch the Device, and on how you can get involved, contact Tehennepe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Technology is awesome, and we can do so many cool things with it, but there are some life skills that we still have to practice and learn and maintain. Because… those are the things that make society nice… and I think that’s really important.”