FRANKLIN — About 50 eighth grade Franklin students on Tuesday, Jan. 15, participated in the life changing program Challenge Day, which was funded through a grant from Atlantic Health. Challenge Day is a social and emotional learning program that is designed to ignite a shift toward greater school connectedness, empathy and inclusivity. The program goes beyond traditional anti-bullying efforts, building empathy and inspiring a school-wide movement of compassion and positive change. The Franklin students were led by two Challenge Day trainers and fourteen adults to explore common issues found in schools including cliques, gossip, rumors, negative judgments, teasing, harassment, isolation, stereotypes, intolerance, racism, sexism, bullying, violence, suicide, homophobia, hopelessness, apathy, and hidden pressures to create an image, achieve or live up to the expectations of others. The day was full of fun and emotions as students explored the many adversities they deal with daily. Students did not know what to expect going into Challenge Day but by the end of the five hour session, students connected in a special way, sharing a bond that will last a lifetime.