HUNTINGTON TOWNSHIP, ADAMS COUNTY, Pa.– When the lunch bell rings and it’s time to flood the elementary school cafeteria, it’s no secret that all kids want to sit at the crowded table.
Something as small as not having a place to eat lunch can be devastating to a 10 year old.
One 4th grader at Bermudian Springs Elementary School says she has seen some kids being singled out, “sometimes they get picked on and nobody should have to go through that.”
Marissa Jones says because of what she has seen, she came up with an idea.
“A special table called ‘we dine together’ for kids who sit alone.”
Even if that meant Marissa could end up eating alone too.
“I felt that maybe they won’t like it. Maybe now I’ll get picked on.”
That fear didn’t stop her, it encouraged her. So, strength in numbers. She proposed the idea to her friend Audrey Kuntz.
Audrey jumped at the opportunity, “I thought it was a good idea because I wanted people to be happy where they sit and not be picked on and bullied.”
Marissa and Audrey took the proposal of an entire lunch table for anyone who neede a place to sit, to their counselor Tanya Gelb.
Gelb says she has never seen 10 year olds with this kind of compassion.
“This is amazing. I have never seen anybody have such a concept of this at such a young level decide that they wanted to do this.”
The girls next task was to explain the concept to the entire 4th grade class during lunch. Initially, the girls were worried what the class would think about the idea.
The nerves went out the window was the class applauded the idea.
Audrey say their reaction really helped their confidence, “everybody clapped. I saw people really like it.”
The table was up and running shortly after the concept of “we dine together” was presented in the cafeteria.
Gelb says she is extremely proud of the two young ladies, “they did a great job explaining it in front of the class.”
Little did they know, the two compassionate 10 year olds were serving up a lunchtime lesson that would make an impact far beyond the lunch table.
Audrey says she saw one person gain a new friend, “I’m pretty sure she was starting to talk to people.”
Gelb says now, she sees happy kids sitting around the table, “If they were friends before or not, they are now.”
Now, the issue at 4th grade lunch isn’t going to be people eating alone. It is going to be expanding to make more room at the table.
Audrey says it is getting a little crowded.
The girls are both off to different schools next year, and hope other students will step up to continue the “we dine together” table.