LAKE WYLIE Oakridge Middle School students worked on breaking down social and racial barriers when they participated in the school’s first Mix It Up at Lunch Day.
The Dec. 17 event, launched by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project in 2002, encourages students to sit with someone new in the cafeteria for one day.
Cafeterias are the focus of Mix It Up because that is where a school’s social boundaries are most obvious. Thousands of schools nationwide participated in the event.
“Mix It Up is a positive step that schools can take to help create learning environments where students see each other as individuals and not just as members of a separate group,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “When people step out of their cliques and get to know someone, they realize just how much they have in common.”
In order to help students step out of their cliques, students were randomly assigned to a different table in the cafeteria. There were conversation starters at all tables to help students in getting to know each other better. The teachers also had the opportunity to Mix It Up and sit with students from other teams.