Lunchtime can seem lonely to someone eating alone – especially in a roomful of people.
At Gulf Avenue Elementary School in Wilmington, students are learning how to make the midday meal more sociable, welcoming classmates into their circle and including those who might otherwise eat alone.
“Maybe for one person who doesn’t have a friend, this becomes a great time to socialize as we do it, talking while eating,” said Davion, vice president of Gulf Avenue Elementary’s fifth-grade class.
The initiative was launched recently during No One Eats Alone Day, when students paired off with a classmate, found common interests, then had an old-fashioned conversation – one unaided by a cell phone or other computing device. While munching on burritos, Davion and his new buddy talked football and found themselves bonding over the teams they both liked.
Reaching out to others is easy, Davion said, and shouldn’t be limited to just one day a year.
“I think it’s so important to put into practice,” Davion said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white or tall or skinny. All you need to do is to have a friend, have fun with them and have a great time.”
Gulf Avenue Elementary Principal David Kooper said he wants his students to learn early on, since the capacity to understand another’s feelings makes them a better person and a better friend.
“I want our kids to be trained to spot students needing assistance and be willing to give assistance,” he said. “We need to make the kids who are invisibible, visibile.”
Gulf Avenue was one of more than 2,000 schools in every state that observed No One Eats Alone Day, which was launched by the nonprofit Beyond Differences. The group is dedicated to ending bullying and social isolation by creating more welcoming a environment on campus.
“Our goal is to teach kids to be leaders and activists, and go out and meet people, sit with someone new, ask them questions and not just walk by the person they see alone,” said Sally Kuhlman, director of national programs at the Northern California-based organization.
Mariah, the fifth-grade class president, took the lesson to heart, chatting up a first-grader about their common love of basketball. By the time lunch ended, they found they also both loved soccer – fodder for the next day’s conversation.
“Today is a day where we can meet each other and make more friends,” Mariah said.
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Cleveland High band program marches on after years with no teacher, little money – Los Angeles Daily News
LAPD officers spread holiday cheer at Van Nuys elementary school – Los Angeles Daily News
Burrowing Owl delights students, staff at urban school – SoCalWild.com
Dorsey students complete College Board pilot class. – L.A. Sentinel
Girls Academic Leadership Academy: A unique opportunity.– Jewish Journal
West Valley Occupational Center celebrates 50 years. – Los Angeles Daily News
Linked Learning the focus of innovative high school. – Education Writers of America
Music, arts programs at LA schools increasing after years of decline. – Los Angeles Daily News
Coeur d’Alene Elementary: One school’s journey towards instructional excellence. – Cotsen Foundation
Student identity through the arts. Huffington Post
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