16 May
  • By Justin Pauly
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No one eats alone at Jenkins County Middle School

By Jason Raven |

Posted: Fri 8:12 AM, Mar 09, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018
(News 12 This Morning)


MILLEN, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — A schoolroom cafeteria is a busy place, it’s loud, but for some it might be loneliest time of the day, but not for kids at Jenkins County Middle School.

Students at Jenkins County Middle School have embraced a nationwide program making sure no one sits alone at lunchtime.

The program is called No One Eats Alone.

Sixth grader Christian Wilson says, “It made me want to sit by people I normally never sit by.”

Last month, the school and Peach State Health Plan held an event that taught 6th grade students the negative impacts of social isolation.

Experts say self isolation is a self-preventable public health crisis that affects millions of students across the country. It’s been identified as a potential reason for bullying, self-harm and community violence.

Talaya Milton says, “If you don’t sit next to someone it can really hurt their feelings, the reason I started doing it was so people can feel better about themselves.”

During the program, students learned ice breakers and ways to connect with their peers. They say it was a real eye opener. Samuel Gilpin says, “Before that day, I saw some people (sitting alone), but I didn’t give it enough attention to know they were actually not feeling great about sitting alone.”

The main message is to make inclusion cool in school. The students at Jenkins County Middle have heard that message loud and clear. Morgan Burke says, “A couple of my classmates and other classes, they are trying to get out there and make some new friends.”

This is something the students want to continue all the way until graduation. Caleb Asbury says, “It can bring a school together by teaching people about other people that might not be popular and no one sits with a no one really knows about.”

School administrators say the students have embraced this pretty much on their own after the presentation.

Experts say inclusion can make students more empathetic and more caring for their peers, making a healthy friendly school environment.



Justin Pauly