Social divisions—many based on class, race and ethnicity—are pervasive in our nation’s schools. Together, we can make a change. October was national anti-bullying month, and as a way to recognize and honor this month, Mater Christi Students in Kindergarten through 8th grade participated in Mix It Up day on Thursday, October 30th!
This annual traditional of Mix It Up day was started over a decade ago by Teaching Tolerance Magazine. This publication is a resource for teachers, counselors, and administrators throughout the United States. Students identify the cafeteria as a place where clear social divisions can be seen. On Mix It Up day students are asked to step outside of their comfort zones and sit with someone new at lunch. Mix It Up day not only encourages students to embrace diversity, act with tolerance and inclusiveness, but it teaches a life-long social skill. As students grow up they will be put into social situations where they will have to meet new people and learn to begin conversations to get to know others. This socializing skill will serve them well as they move through middle and high school, into college and/or the workforce.
MCS Students were given conversation starters during their lunch to give examples of some easy questions to get the ball rolling. It was great to see the mixing of students and hear all the questions being asked and responded to with laughter and genuine interest. The lunchroom took on a different look, sound, and feel than other days as patterned seating and conversations were challenged, the students embraced the change and were wonderful participants.
In the afternoon the students were paired with their mass buddies and each class engaged in a getting to know you activity. It was a beautiful day outside and the playground began to fill with all ages. It was during this time that I was truly inspired by what I saw happening naturally. Elementary students were playing basketball and soccer with intermediate and middle school students. Older students were swinging and playing tag with younger buddies modeling the tolerance and kindness to the younger students. I also saw Mrs. Sem’s 1st grade class and Mr. Loescher’s 7th grade class sitting in a circle on the grass and the smiles and laughter heard coming from that circle was a true testament to one of our values here at MCS, respect for human dignity no matter the person.
This Mix It Up day, from the cafeteria to the classrooms, and the playground, MCS became a reflection of a community filled with tolerance, diversity, peace, fun and memory making.
Ms. Jenelle Dumas