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Middle Schoolers Make Connections With Start With Hello

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Organized by the counseling departments, both of West Islip’s middle schools implemented the Start With Hello program this year, which teaches students the skills they need to reach out and include those who may be dealing with chronic social isolation and create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their classroom, school and community.

The program, coordinated by Sandy Hook Promise, included icebreaker activities such as a “Hey Day” in which students filled out name tags to initiate saying hello to each other, a “Be Kind Day” in which students posted positive affirmations in a Kindness Corner for all to see and read, an “I Am” wall, photobooths, friendship chains and scavenger hunts. Students from the Helping Hands Club and Diversity Club volunteered their time to assist with the activities.

“It was a wonderful week of meeting new friends, making connections and building community,” said Beach Principal Andrew O’Farrell.