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The arts and culture commission’s mission is to develop, promote and support the arts as part of the town’s identity and character. To snoop or not to snoop?. “Internet Safety: Parenting in the Age of Social Media,” for parents of students in all grades, takes place Feb 15 at 7 p.m. in the Fisher Middle School multipurpose room, 17010 Roberts Road. Children are not invited since the adults will be talking about them, finding out what’s “normal” for today’s kids and common pitfalls that might await them.
FREMONT — No lonely figures huddled names of dance shoes over their lunch tray in the corner of the cafeteria with no one to talk to, No kids hanging out in a bathroom, praying for the bell to ring and class to resume, For at least one day of the year, at Fremont’s Hopkins Junior High and in more than 1,600 school cafeterias across the nation, no one would eat alone during lunch time, At least that was the vision behind Friday’s National No One Eats Alone Day, The goal? To have school cliques open themselves to outsiders, And to have the lines between social groups fade just enough, during lunchtime, so that it didn’t matter who was the in-crowd or out-crowd..
Simon Anton, a seventh-grade history and leadership teacher at Hopkins who helped organize this year’s event, said he’s seen a difference in the school culture in the three years it has taken part. “Now you’ll see students who normally sit by themselves or those farther on the outskirts of the quad look around more and they’ll have people to recognize and wave to now, compared to the beginning of the program,” he said. “You see fewer students eating on their own because they have connections with people they can seek company with.
“And I have noticed students over the last year that are more socially shy, step up into bigger roles at the school.”, There was a beehive of boisterous energy at Hopkins on Friday, with hundreds of seventh- and eighth-graders, clustered together, chatting, eating and names of dance shoes goofing off, while others stood far from the event, playing basketball with their usual friends, An impromptu dance party broke out in one corner of the courtyard, and a group of leadership students gave out gold star stickers and colorful rubber wrist bands emblazoned with slogans about ending social isolation..
“We introduced ourselves to new kids we didn’t know, and they seemed surprised and happy and maybe a little nervous as well,” said Maria Fernanda, 12, a seventh-grader who roamed around with a couple of her friends introducing themselves to kids they barely knew. In another corner of the courtyard were a series of lunch tables, so-called “discussion stations,” that brandished signs like “sports, shoes, food and Netflix.” Kids could choose to sit with classmates they had never talked to before, and chat about shared interests, presenting ice-breaker questions on a slip of paper, like “What’s your favorite sport?” or “Would you rather eat a duck or lick a cat?”.
“He’s in my basketball league, but I’ve never talked to him, but sometimes I’d seen him before sitting alone, so I thought I’d try to meet him,” said Cobey Cardwell, 13, an eighth-grader, about Shivam Patel, 13, a seventh-grader, “You’re ever alone, you can sit with us,” he told Patel, explaining that he used to sit alone in elementary school and understands the feeling, The annual lunch event is the brainchild of San Rafael-based nonprofit Beyond Differences, created by Laura Talmus, in memory of her daughter, Lili, who died as a high school freshman from Apert syndrome, Lili had a difficult names of dance shoes transition socially from elementary to middle school, when her old elementary friends left her behind, Talmus still remembers the phone calls during lunchtime from her daughter..
“She would call and say, ‘I need to go home. I’m hiding in the girls bathroom, and no one wants me to sit with them,'” Talmus recalled. “And it was very hard to get those phone calls. It was heartbreaking.”. By putting a spotlight on the real problem of social isolation through the event, Talmus said she hopes that people will recognize it as the serious health crisis that it is. It can lead not only to gun violence but suicide, depression, obesity, high blood pressure and sleep disturbances, she said.
“So we want there to be at least one day of the year where you just know that you’re going to go to school that day and everyone is going to be the same,” Talmus said, “Everyone is going to eat together, and no one is going to eat with names of dance shoes their cliques and groups.”, Lynn Romano, an English teacher at Rancho Milpitas Middle School, said such events don’t work their magic overnight, and they can’t be forced, For instance, she estimates that among the 750 students at her school, about 100 kids showed up at the event she held last year, and she hopes more will show up this year..