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Mater Christi School Is Named Mix It Up Model School by Teaching Tolerance

April 30, 2015

DSC_1570-X2Last fall, many schools around the nation held an annual Mix It Up Day, and Mater Christi School in Burlington was one of them. Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a national campaign launched by Teaching Tolerance over a decade ago. The purpose of the day is to encourage students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. In surveys run by Teaching Tolerance, students identified the cafeteria as the place where divisions are most clearly drawn. So on one day—October 27 this school year— students were asked to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch.

Mater Christi recently received word that is has been named a model Mix It Up School; the only other Vermont school to be named a model school is Harwood Union in Moretown.

A model Mix It up School has met these criteria: 1. It hosted a Mix it Up at Lunch Day in 2014. 2. It followed up with at least two additional programs or events that sustained the spirit of Mix It Up. 3. It included different members of the school community to organize Mix It Up. 4. It publicized Mix It Up Day with a variety of media. 5. Its students and staff saw Mix It Up at Lunch Day as a success.

model mix it up 005The coordinator of the day at Mater Christi School was the school’s guidance counselor, Ms Jenelle Dumas. She planned Mix It Up at Lunch Day activities that paired older and younger kids, creating “buddy” teams. Students received index cards with prompts that allowed them to learn about their new friends. After lunch, the students shared what they learned with their larger classes. To show Mater Christi’s oneness as a school, the 4th graders made a chain with each link (a different color) signed by a student in the school. The chain has been hanging in the students’ dining room since the fall as a daily reminder that each person is different and that difference creates beauty when each one celebrates his/her uniqueness while at that same time works together.

The teachers reported that the students enjoyed the day so much, they asked for, and were granted more, opportunities to “buddy up” during the remainder of the year.

Sister Joanne LaFreniere, RSM
Director of Public Relations and Spiritual Life