Archive for Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Friendly gestures

Lexington Trails Middle School seventh-graders Ciaann Chance, Kenna Hall and Bethany Drake sign a bulletin board in the school’s hallway to thank their Panther Pals. The school’s Student Council Forging Friendship Committee began the anonymous program to encourage new friendships.

Lexington Trails Middle School seventh-graders Ciaann Chance, Kenna Hall and Bethany Drake sign a bulletin board in the school’s hallway to thank their Panther Pals. The school’s Student Council Forging Friendship Committee began the anonymous program to encourage new friendships.

January 27, 2010

Lexington Trails Middle School seventh-grader Bethany Drake is trying to solve a mystery.

The unsolved action is hardly a crime. Rather, it is one of a rash of good deeds that have visited the school the LTMS Student Council Friendship Committee started the Panther Pals program in December.

In Bethany's case, the mystery is the name of the pal who anonymously gave her a soda and Twix candy bar.

“I enjoyed getting the gifts,”she said “I’ve been trying to figure out who it is.”

Nancy Roberts, LTMS art teacher, said the committee wanted to create friendships and find ways for students to interact with others they normally wouldn't.

“We ask the Panther Pals to do random acts of kindness for each other,” Roberts said. “Things like be nice in hall, put notes in their lockers and make little gifts or send them a pop or candy bar.”

Because students don’t know who their Panther Pal is, the academic foundations teachers agreed to dish out items that don’t fit in the cracks of lockers.

Students who wished to take part in the program filled out a short survey describing themselves and the things they liked. Roberts then matched sixth-grade students with others in their grade level, and so on for the entire building. Each student received their Panther pals survey, as a way to get to know them better.

“Some kids don’t have a lot of friends,” Roberts said. “With Panther pals, you have to be a big enough person to follow through. It’s a matter of taking time to do it. For the most part students are doing a good job with it.”

Students who wished to take part in the program filled out a short survey describing themselves and the things they liked. Roberts then matched sixth-grade students with others in their grade level, and so on for the entire building. Students received their Panther pals survey, as a way to get to know them better.

“Some kids don’t have a lot of friends,” Roberts said. “With Panther pals you have to be a big enough person to follow through. It’s a matter of taking time to do it. For the most part students are doing a good job with it.”

Kenna Hall, seventh-grader, received a jar of pickles from her Panther Pal during the holidays.

“I figured joining would be a fun way to get to know people better,” Kenna said.

Roberts said it was nice seeing students doing nice things for each other.

“We put up bulletin boards in the hallways so the students can thank their Panther pals,” she said. “It’s kind of a nice, fun thing to do in the building. It’s a great way to forge friendships.”

Gabby Stephens, seventh-grader, said she joined the group to get to know other students and become friends.

“I think I would do it again next year,” she said. “I think it would be good for new kids from other schools.”

Ciaann Chance, seventh-grader, said although she hasn’t received much from her Panther Pal she enjoyed giving gifts and notes the the pal she was assigned.

“I like how people can bond when they do stuff like this,” she said. “It puts smiles on peoples’ faces.”

Roberts said she planned to unveil students pals in April.

By then, seventh-grader Bethany may have solved the mystery on her own from her ever-widening group of friends.

“I think this breaks up cliques, and everyone can be friends instead of having separate groups.”

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