Thea Digiammerino

New London Middle Schoolers Organize Lunch Where “No One Eats Alone”

For some, lunchtime at school is a chance to socialize with friends. But other students are left eating alone. New London Arts Magnet School students worked to change that Friday.

It’s all a part of “No One Eats Alone” – a national effort where students pledge to end social isolation.

Middle school students helped organize the day, dividing students at tables based on common interests. Known friends were not allowed to sit together.

“Basically we put them at a table where they can communicate with others that they might not know. See, if somebody doesn’t talk, they can make friends,” said seventh-grader Josh Hickson, who helped put the day together.

For weeks, students studied a curriculum by Beyond Differences about social isolation in the classroom. The middle schoolers at the Arts Magnet School were part of more than a couple thousand schools across the nation who participated.

“We’ve been realizing that a lot of kids get separated, they don’t hang out with people and we felt really bad they were getting bullied,” said Anaya Collins, a seventh-grade student.

“(We) sit with people who we don’t know and make new friends! And it’s awesome,” said sixth-grader Jahleik Turner. Turner sat at the “Hip Hop” table and said he was amazed there were so many classmates who liked the genre as much as him.

Principal Kate Fioravanti said some of the students who helped organize “No One Eats Alone” volunteered to help. Others were part of a situation that causes someone to feel isolated. This shifted their thinking.

She plans to host several more events like this in the future.

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