A step outside the comfort zone

Ryan Perry, Staff Reporter

At Mix-It-Up Day, students enjoy new types of ethnic foods at lunch and talk to new friends that share their birth month.
At Mix-It-Up Day, students enjoy new types of ethnic foods at lunch and talk to new friends that share their birth month.

Students looking for a chance to mix it up a little and try something different got the opportunity on April 19 during lunch. The cafeteria was adorned with decorations and enlivened with music, and students were encouraged to step out of their comfort zones.
Assistant Principal Dr. Elaine Yuille, one of the key organizers of Mix-It-Up Day, said the event is dedicated to promoting interaction between social groups.
“The purpose of Mix-It-Up Day is to give students a chance to meet new people,” Yuille said. “One way that we try to do this is to arrange the lunch tables by the months of students’ birthdays. Students who are born in November, for example, would sit at the same table and socialize.”
Complications due to constructions prevented students from participating in the planning process, as they did last year.
Several students said that their experience was positive. Junior Ethan Pelino particularly enjoyed the format by which students were grouped together.
“I think we kind of need to do this once a year,” Pelino said. “It’s necessary because everything’s so technology-based that we’ve lost touch with each other.”
Senior Caity Ashley agreed that getting students to interact with people in different social groups was beneficial.
“I think that it’s a really good idea,” Ashley said. “It gives people an opportunity to talk to people that they wouldn’t normally talk to. This is important because people are usually more accepting than they think.”
Another result of Mix-It-Up Day, according to instructional technology and research teacher Gail Matthews, is that students learn effective communication skills.
“When most students go off to college, they will probably go to a college where they don’t know anybody,” Matthews said. “Therefore, it would be helpful for them to know how to deal with new social situations and apply social skills. It also helps add a sense of comfortability.”
Yuille emphasized that, in addition to building social skills, students can learn to accept and appreciate qualities that make people unique.
“The idea has always been the same: encouraging students to mingle and talk to students that they normally wouldn’t talk to, and relate to students that they wouldn’t normally relate to,” Yuille said. “Diversity isn’t just about race; it’s about everybody’s differences. There are people who have different views on life, and getting them to interact can open their eyes to the similarities that they have in common.”