SCARSDALE, N.Y. - Some Scarsdale elementary school students made new friends - including a popular local politician - recently, through the district's annual “Mix-It-Up Buddy Lunches.”
As part of the Healthcote Elementary School’s “Circle of Friends” initiative, Scarsdale students of different ages shared a meal together before heading out for recess in an effort to “encourage a connectedness within the school.”
For the past decade, several times each year, Heathcote students are paired up with their peers in different grade levels during lunch and recess to encourage bonding and discourage bullying in the district. Kindergarteners eat with third graders, first graders with fourth graders and second graders with the outgoing fifth grade class.
Special this year, longtime New York State Assemblywoman - and Scarsdale native - Amy Paulin joined in the fun, where she was taken on a student-led tour of last month’s Heathcote art and poetry exhibition.
Scarsdale schools psychologist Jennifer Turetzky noted that by hosting these cohesive lunches throughout the year, it allows for students to interact with one another in ways they might not otherwise.
“The Buddy Lunch is effective because younger students can learn from older students, ask them questions about school and feel connected to the school,” she said. “Our older students really enjoy it. They can act as mentors to younger students and really get to know them.”