SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - When lunch hour became social hour at Hubert Middle School, classmates became friends.
"It was a good experience because as we get older, we might not be able to see the kids that we grew up with,” said Hubert 6th grader Tyahnna Hill. “So, as we grow older, we have to learn how to experience and sit with new people and talk with new people.”
It was No One Eats Alone Day at the school and students were encouraged to sit with different groups than they usually share time within the cafeteria as a way of preventing isolation and bringing the whole school closer.
"Today, we wanted to do something because Valentine's Day is coming up and some kids feel alone,” said Hubert school counselor Gabrielle Brundidge. “So, we wanted to make sure they knew that their classmates cared enough about them to have lunch and do a little lunch challenge. Normally during the lunchtime, the classes sit with their home room.
“So, they don't get to mix and mingle. But today, they got to mix and mingle and meet people they normally would not have met during the school day.”
No One Eats Alone is a national initiative brought to Savannah by the Peach State Health Plan.
It includes lessons for students, teachers, and administrators.
"I got to meet a few new students that I didn’t know before in sixth grade and we learned a lot about each other,’’ said Hubert principal Brian Dotson. "It's very important to set an atmosphere that makes kids want to take this seriously and actually want to engage in dialogue with other students. So, it's extremely important to have the adults invested in this and administrators too just as well as the students.”
Several other area school will have No One Eats alone day events tomorrow, when more lasting friendships might begin.
"A lot of socialization begins in the middle school years,” said Brundidge. “This basically will make the marker for high school, how you’re going to be in high school, you social, your academic. Everything starts in middle school here.”