BRUIN Way seeks to foster a positive school environment

Gian Carlo Baldonado, Staff Writer

In a student-faculty effort to emphasize target behavior recommended for everyone’s success, the school’s new program –– the BRUIN Way –– specifies the school’s expectations of students.
Bruins are expected to “Be prepared,” to “Respect others,” to “Understand diversity,” to “Interact positively,” and to “Never give up.” Fortunately, there are a number of students at the Creek who serve as models for these expectations.
“I have been following the BRUIN Way,” senior Breyana Hilliard said. “I pick up trash every day. If I see someone lost or down I just want to see how they’re doing.”
Sophomore Samantha Wahler says she honors the BRUIN Way by helping new students navigate their way through the Creek.
“I’ve been helping the freshmen who don’t know where to go or are confused about the rules,” Wahler said.
To be a Bruin and not a ruin, senior Emily Stein says she stands up for diversity.
“Considering how many different cultures we have at [Bear Creek],” Stein said, “it’s always a positive aspect to view others respectfully despite [students’] cultural differences.”
This is not the first time Bear Creek has instituted programs to help change the school’s culture. Programs like Rachel’s Challenge and Do-be-Nice also promote positive behavior, but Bear Creek has never had a program as large and inclusive as the BRUIN Way.
“We have t-shirts that the staff and students have been provided the opportunity to get,” student government and activities advisor Laura La Rue said. “There are large posters in every classroom that express what the BRUIN Way is, as well as the school-wide classroom matrix.”
Students have taken initiative to promote the BRUIN Way and have produced two videos to promote the program to their peers.
“I heard the [BRUIN Way] from a video that was made by a student,” junior Caden Ryan said, “…and it gave a lot of examples.”
Teachers have also incorporated the BRUIN WAY’s tenets into their daily teachings.
“Speech and Debate will be changing some of our sign-offs to represent the BRUIN Way,” captain Michael Barber said on behalf of Speech and Debate advisor Karen Minick, “like ‘BRUIN Way Wednesday’ or ‘Be Prepared Monday.’ We will be also acting as student leaders because the BRUIN Way follows the honor code that we’ve already supported.”
English teacher Grace Morledge, in the spirit of “being prepared,” greets her students every day at the door and reminds them to put away their phones and earbuds before entering class.
“I feel like at this point I’m seeing a real improvement in students being serious in what we’re doing in class,” Morledge said. “I think it’s as much because I’m trying to follow the BRUIN Way as it is because the [students] are.”
Fostering a more positive and disciplined environment for more than 2,100 students is a difficult task, but when students are equally driven as much as their teachers are to effect change, the difficult becomes feasible.
“[Change] has to come from both students and faculty,” Spanish teacher Andres Gil said. “We need a little group of good students that starts spreading the word out there and showing [their peers] the way.”