The Great Depression Challenge

Jazlyn Contreras, Video Manager

For two weeks, junior history students will face The Great Depression Challenge, in which they must wear the same outfit everyday for twenty points extra credit. This project started on Feb. 9., and eleventh grade history teachers will be hosting this activity. U.S. History and Public Health teacher, Ms. Rabak, in room B-212, will have the participating students check in daily (including block days, when they do not have her) to make sure that they appear the same as the photo she took of them on the first day.


“We’re teaching the students about the difficulties they [Americans during the Great Depression] encountered,” Rabak said, “and not just the physical difficulties, but the emotional ones. It was actually Mrs. McClain who started it and we thought it would be a great idea if the whole eleventh graders participated in it. And so we [eleventh grade history teachers] all adopted her idea. Sometimes there’s a nice part to it when you say ‘Oh, I don’t have to pick my clothes, but that again?’ So there’s that feeling of discontent and unease, which is why we are in it with you guys.”


Although this assignment is worth a lot of extra credit points, Daisy Lopez, 11, is up to the task to wear the same outfit for a while, but also for the amusement of this project.


“I did the Great Depression Challenge for the experience of what America had to go through in the 1930s, living in great poverty, with no money to afford new and clean clothes. I didn’t do it for the extra credit, I did it for fun,” Lopez said. “After the first week is done, I’ll feel but at ease and comfortable with the clothes I’m wearing; however, I will grow tired of wearing the same thing instead of something different and new.”


Sanitation is an important role in keeping individuals healthy, so clothing should be washed after one is finished wearing them in order for them to not carry an odor the next day. Washing clothing requires plenty of water and some detergent, which is something Jocelyn Fernandez, 11, refuses to waste, so she decided to not do the challenge.


“I’m not doing it because I’m not comfortable with wearing the same clothes everyday for two weeks,” Fernandez said, “and I don’t want to constantly wash them. Also, I don’t want the fabric of my clothes to fade or feel weird so many times in a two-week period.”


Wearing the same attire everyday can be a handful to take care of washing it daily, making sure it dries on time, and hoping the fabric does not fade away. There are some people in this world that do in fact feel comfortable putting on the same clothing without much of a problem, which is something not so bad to handle. But wearing the same outfit for two weeks as student extra credit cannot majorly compare to what Americans felt during the Great Depression, besides wearing the same outfit everyday. About ten years after World War I, the U.S. economy suffered a great amount of crashes in the stock market, banks, and even the American trust from 1929-1939, in which many citizens were unemployed, left with nothing but a poor shelter, little food, and rarely a job. Citizens of that era also had to wear the same clothing, due to their lack of money to afford different ones. It is an experience students can gain when repeating to put on consistent apparel, and realizing how worse it would have been if they were to live during the Great Depression.