- Sponsorship -

Students Get To Know Each Other Over ‘Mixed-Up’ Lunch

While eating lunch with a random group of peers, Valleywood Middle School eighth-grade classmates discussed what they can’t live without.

“I can’t live without my cell phone,” said Victor Eskew.

“I can’t live without music,” said Reyna Delgado.Seventh-grade student Ashley Hightower looks at her table assignment after drawing a Popsicle stick from Principal Mindy Westra

“I can’t live without shopping,” said Monyavia McSwain.

“I can’t live without my mom and my dad. I’d go crazy without them,” said James Mack.

Prompted by a list of questions, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students talked about their favorite music, TV shows, what they’ve learned lately, talents and memories.

The activity, Mix It Up Day, was organized by Alison Corso and Amelia Reelman, the school’s Kent School Services Network leaders, as a way to dispel stereotypes. The initiative, started by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project a decade ago, aims to reduce prejudice and improve inter-group relations by asking students to break out of their normal social circles and connect with someone new over lunch. Nationwide, 6,128 schools were registered to participate this year.

Eighth-grade student Reyna Delgado takes her turn answering a questionSomething in Common

Corso said the activity gets students out of their comfort zones and encourages them to meet new people, create more unity, and, hopefully, lead to a decrease in bullying. “A lot of people are really divided,” she told students. “We are a lot more similar than we think we are.”

Segregation at the school exists more among cliques than along racial or ethnic lines, Corso said. Though students normally have assigned lunch seats, the divided groups are evident during other parts of the day.

Students drew Popsicle sticks to get their table assignments and picked M&Ms from fun-sized bags. Each color candy matched a question to answer about themselves.

“It was fun,” said seventh-grade student Devon Proper. “I learned a lot about the similarities and differences we have, and the problems we Seventh-grade student Anthony Sanchez chats with KSSN leader Alison Corsohave.”

“It was cool to get to know people,” added seventh-grade student Matthew Semon.

CONNECT

Teaching Tolerance: A Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

LATEST ARTICLES

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

Rain gutter regatta showcases buoyancy, engineering skills

An annual boat race has become a highlight of sixth-grade science class. At stake: bragging rights and 'a goofy trophy'...

The Hood family: a school & community leadership dynasty

Five generations have lived within a five- to six-mile radius dating back to a government work program in the 1930s...

The sky’s the limit (or is it?) for this accomplished model builder

Creative, innovative, imaginative … Many of today’s students are all that and more in a vast variety of interest areas. This series features students with exceptional and unusual gifts...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

For MLK Day, educators discuss improving equity in education

A leading advocate on equity in education says Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy requires educators to dig deeper into making sure all students have what they need to thrive...

Teacher lights science up with creativity

As a child, Wendy Johnson’s curiosity led her to discover her passion for science. Now a ninth-grade biophysics teacher at East Kentwood, her passion transforms the average science class into a hub of student curiosity...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS