South Orangetown Central School District

South Orangetown Middle School students and staff have been engaging in a variety of activities over the last few days to celebrate #StartWithHelloWeek!

Each day, SOMS School Prevention Counselor Bobbie-Angela Wong planned activities for students to engage in during their lunch periods including a photo booth where two students or staff created the H in ‘Hello’ and “Mix It Up” where students were assigned to random tables in the cafeteria and given conversation cards to encourage them to spend time with classmates they may not talk to every day. “While we always encourage students to be kind and friendly, having a week to focus on building a culture of inclusivity allows students to practice reaching out and socializing. Introducing yourself to others and getting to know other students isn’t always easy, but adding an element of fun can make socializing easier. When all students are participating in the same activity, it also is less stressful,” said Wong.

On Thursday, Wong introduced a new activity that also involved staff members. “For ‘Trusted Adult Thursday,’ teachers posted a “Trusted Adult” flyer with their name and a fun fact to symbolize that they are adults that students can go to if they need someone to talk to. This allows students to get to know their teachers, but it also encourages socialization amongst students and staff,” explained Wong. “My favorite things to see at SOMS are smiles, laughter and socialization. It’s exciting to see how students can positively impact other students just by saying hello or helping another student out. The ‘Start With Hello’ mission encourages this while creating a culture of inclusivity. There is so much power in students’ actions and voices. Sometimes they don’t see it, but their hello, invitation or offer to help can truly make a difference in someone else’s day and therefore, they’ve made a difference at SOMS.”

SOMS Start with Hello