Several people have asked how the Wednesday lunchtime program at Travis Middle School went, so I guess I’ll fill you in a bit now that it’s over.
I met every Wednesday in May in the old Travis gym (see picture above) with three groups of kids. I got to spend 20-30 minutes each with a group of around15 7th graders, then 10 or so 8th graders, and then 20 6th graders. We spent our time talking about character, who we are, what shapes us, looking at peers and trying to discover what shapes them, and discovering who we are and what our purpose is. That’s a lot of stuff in a short amount of time, but I think it went really well.
I had the chance to meet a bunch of new kids, but I also ran into several “old kids” who had once lived in the North Grand Villas or Rose Plaza but had moved out and lost touch. That was great. Also, I got to check up on many of my “current” kids. I visited in the halls with them, peeked in on their classes, and visited with principals, teachers, and counselors about what was going on with them. So that was great.
One of the neatest things we did was a day each kid shared with the group the following sentence – “When people look at me, they think I am _________, but I’m not.” It was pretty powerful for some of the kids to be honest about what hurts them.
Sample answers: “People think I’m a nerd, but I just make good grades”
“People think I’m fat and dumb but I’m more than that and I wish people would give me a chance”
“People think I’m Chinese, but I’m from Viet Nam. There’s a difference!”
Some answers were funny, some were completely serious. And I think it really had an impact on the kids in the way they look at each other.
Of course, 4 weeks in May isn’t alot, but it was a great test run, and we’re definitely going to be doing something similar in the Fall. The kids want to, and so does the administration. So I’m really excited about where we’re headed.