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H. B. Students Participate in No One Eats Alone Day


H. B. Students Participate in No One Eats Alone Day

As they entered the school cafeteria on February 10, 2017, H.B. du Pont seventh graders were given a small square of colored paper and told to sit at a table with a balloon that corresponded to their color. They were participating in No One Eats Alone Day and this was their opportunity to sit, talk and share a meal with someone new.

This year all H. B. students in grades 6, 7 and 8 participated in the program. Seventh grader Kelly and Noe, her best buddy from last year, were seated together during the special lunch. Kelly was happy to catch up with Noe to see how he was doing this year and was glad that Haley her new buddy was busy making friends.

No One Eats Alone Day is a national student led lunchtime initiative to help teens make social inclusion a new reality. Students are empowered to build a more inclusive and welcoming school community by making sure everyone is included and feels valued and accepted.

At H.B. du Pont, middle school level Meadowood students attend classes along with their peers at H.B. About 60 students are involved in the Best Buddies program where students from H.B. are paired with Meadowood students during activity period and together they read and participate in field trips and extracurricular activities such as movies, games and bingo. H. B. parent, Dorothea Ormsby has two daughters in the Best Buddies program and said they absolutely love it.

All around the cafeteria, H.B. students showed their unity and school pride by wearing their Warrior Strong shirts and socializing with the students seated at their table. Chief Warrior, Principal Jason Bastianelli walked around talking with the students. There was a festive atmosphere complete with music and decorations made by students in the Best Buddies program.

Eighth grade ELA teacher Sarah Brady and Mary Anne Terzaghi, speech therapist at Meadowood, organized the school-wide event. Mary Anne said her students are really excited to take part in No One Eats Alone Day. Guidance counselor Bri Brown helps promote Best Buddies and recommends H.B. students who want to be part of the club. She said it is a very popular program and their goal is to make it available to more students.

Sarah said, “Students from H.B. and the Meadowood Program are fortunate to be intertwined so tightly within our community. No One Eats Alone represents a moment in time when kids can reflect on their friendships and embrace differences within new people. The HB community is proud to work with Beyond Differences to highlight individual and group unity.”

No One Eats Alone Day is an initiative of Beyond Differences, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending social isolation in middle schools across the country. It was founded by Ace Smith and Laura Talmus whose daughter Lili was born with a genetic disease and suffered from social exclusion. The goal of the organization is to help other special needs children feel included. Reducing social isolation can help decrease the bullying and violence that are often associated with it.

Lunchtime can be the longest part of the day for kids who aren’t part of a group and the students at H.B. du Pont have spent their lunchtime sharing conversations and laughs with fellow classmates they might have never had an opportunity to talk to. One by one they are making a positive change to create a culture of acceptance and inclusion.