Mix It Up Model Schools embrace respect and inclusiveness as core values—they “mix it up” all year long. These schools have done an exemplary job of organizing, publicizing and implementing Mix It Up at Lunch Day. By sharing their recipes for success, Model Schools are beacons for other schools striving for inclusiveness.
Mix It Up Model Schools have met these criteria:
- They hosted a Mix It Up at Lunch Day in 2016 (it did not have to fall on national Mix It Up at Lunch Day).
- They followed up with at least two additional programs or events on campus that sustained the spirit of Mix It Up at Lunch Day.
- They included different members of the school community (e.g., cafeteria staff, aides, administration, teachers and students) to organize Mix It Up at Lunch Day.
- They publicized Mix It Up at Lunch Day with a variety of posters, announcements and other media.
- Their students and staff saw Mix It Up at Lunch Day as a success.
2016-2017 Mix It Up at Lunch Day Model Schools
Federated States of Micronesia
Accepting others and combating bullying was the big theme of Akoyikoyi School’s Mix It Up event—its fifth! Students from nearby Xavier High School came to speak about their respective countries, representing the Federated States of Micronesia and also the Philippines, Tahiti, American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau and the Northern Marianas. Afterward, students discussed the event in class and reported positive experiences at this three-time Mix Model School.
Amador Valley High School
Students were the main organizers of Amador Valley High’s first Mix It Up event. The student leaders—members of the Amador Student SEED organization, LINK program and Leadership Class—also facilitated the event. On Mix It Up Day, the leaders gave freshmen nametags with random group assignments. All students were then led to the large gym, where they sat with peers they typically do not eat lunch with. Before long, with the help of conversation-starter questions and games, students were laughing and breaking down social barriers while enjoying their lunches.
Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School
A disco-themed Mix It Up at Lunch Day lit up Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School’s cafeteria with disco balls and music. Students received glow-stick bracelets that matched glow-in-the-dark balloons on each table, and student organizers mingled in each group to keep conversations going. ANCS sustained the Mix spirit with a Chinese New Year Mix It Up event and a Kindness Week.
Atlantic Community High School
At Atlantic Community High School, the Mix It Up event was a game changer; students literally played different games to open up conversations, and candy sweetened the deal! Planners have since noticed that students who met on Mix It Up at Lunch Day greet each other in the hallways. That kind acknowledgment continued with their participation in the Anti-Defamation League’s School of Respect Day, during which students signed a banner in an effort to stop bias and oppose hate.
The Baldwin School
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
This was The Baldwin School’s first year hosting Mix It Up at Lunch Day! Beforehand, students created “Getting to Know You” questions and were assigned table numbers. On Mix It Up, class officers sat at each table, helping to facilitate conversations and handing out candy. And conversation cards were created by the middle school students prior to the event. Afterward, students said they enjoyed getting acquainted with people they didn’t know and turning acquaintances into friends. For the rest of the school year, once a week, students will eat lunch together in different groups.
Beatrice Gilmore School
Woodland Park, New Jersey
The first Mix It Up at Lunch Day at Beatrice Gilmore this year was so successful that the school now holds one every month. They also celebrated No-Name Calling Week by having daily announcements, including the reading of a student’s original writing about friendship. They also observed the week by using part of each gym class to dig into a lesson about speaking up in the face of name-calling
Beethoven Street Elementary School
Los Angeles, California
Fun music at lunch contributed to the energy of Mix It Up at Lunch Day at Beethoven Street Elementary. The students enjoyed the lunch activities so much they did not want to leave and asked teachers to do it again. Students sat at specially colored tables that corresponded to the colored cards they were given before the event. Each student chose a partner, and the pair asked each other questions using the P.A. system. One way Beethoven Street kept the Mix spirit going was through its PAWS-itive word: honesty.
Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School 1
Central Falls, Rhode Island
Blackstone Valley Prep’s Mix It Up event was actually a two-week-long campaign called “Not in Our School,” an idea from the website by the same name which started a movement to eliminate bullying and build communities. During the two weeks, students earned raffle tickets when they are “caught” being kind, such as by demonstrating inclusive behavior, helping others or sticking up for someone else. At the end of each week, tickets were drawn and students won awesome prizes like homework passes and snacks.
Cascade Middle School
The WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) eighth-grade leadership team at Cascade Middle School plans its own Mix It Up at Lunch Day with sixth-graders to help them feel connected and welcome. CMS also sponsors a school-wide Mix It Up event on the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate diversity. In the school’s seven years of mixing it up, leadership of the event has shifted from the principal to the students!
Catholic Central Elementary School
Students in grades preK-2 and 3-8 had separate—but equally fun!—Mix events at Catholic Central. Students in the older group were so engaged that they were “falling over each other” to name everyone at their lunch tables, especially the middle school students. PreK-2 students participated in a weeklong Mix It Up event that included a theme for each day, with corresponding decorations, stickers and prizes for each day. Every week, Central Catholic has class meetings as part of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, using Olweus’ Bullying Circle Activity and classroom resources from Teaching Tolerance.
Chaminade College Preparatory School
West Hills, California
More than 1,000 students participated in Chaminade’s 10th Mix It Up Day, which—understandably— took a few years to plan! With approval, instead of going to their religion classes, students and had two full days of Mix It Up workshops in the gym. In the workshops, students broke into small groups of “families” and, after icebreakers, played family games. After the workshops, students had small-group discussions and then divided into “blocks” made up of 150 to 200 students from all grade levels. Each block created cheers to coordinate with a given theme. On the third day, all the blocks came together to do their cheers at a Mix It Up rally.
Chartiers Valley Middle School
Chartiers Valley students gave the lowdown on Mix in a video called What Is Mix It Up at Lunch? They also chalked the sidewalk with messages such as “Mix It Up” and “Be Kind.” On the big day, with a DJ spinning positive tunes and the cafeteria decorated with balloons and streamers, No Place for Hate committee members walked around to each table helping students start conversations. No Place for Hate also takes the lead in facilitating activities that encourage kindness, empathy and acceptance throughout the year.
The Christy J. Cugini Port Richmond
School P.S. 20
Staten Island, New York
Students participated in making posters to pique their peers’ interest prior to the Mix It Up event at Christy J. Cugini. On Mix It Up at Lunch Day, during an indoor recess, students interviewed each other as part of a “getting to know you” activity and closed the event by taking the No Place For Hate pledge. The event was such a hit that students asked if they could do it again and suggested activities for the next go-round.
Clinton Middle School
Clinton, New York
Members of Rachel’s Warriors Club, other students and co-advisors all helped plan Clinton Middle School’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day, where conversations about favorite colors, subjects, books and sports were among the discussion topics. The event planners received so much positive feedback from the students and teachers that they’re planning another Mix It Up Day this spring. And they’ll keep the spirit going with their No One Sits Alone initiative and a Kindness Board, which highlights random acts of kindness in the school.
Colorado River Collegiate Academy
Colorado River Collegiate Academy tried something new for their second year of Mix programming: live-streaming one of their events so parents and siblings of students can see what happens. Their first Mix It Up event of the year was in September and featured a game of Constitution Bingo to celebrate Constitution Day. Many of the school’s students come from Hispanic backgrounds, so planners decided to have the main event, in October, focus on celebrating Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.
Creative Minds International Public
Whether they were rocking silly socks, wearing their clothing backward, sporting outrageous hairdos, spicing up their outfits with color or dressing up to match an assigned “twin,” students at Creative Minds celebrated Mix It Up all week with special Spirit Dress themes each day. Although students found it hard to sit with different peers, by the end of Mix It Up at Lunch Day, many reported that they enjoyed meeting new friends. Says one young student, “It was so fun! We got to eat with third-graders!”
Crete Elementary School
“A Minion Ways to be a Good Friend” was the writing activity Crete Elementary students did on a minion cutout to prepare for their fourth Mix It Up at Lunch Day. The finished projects and event posters decorated the school cafeteria on Mix Day, when the minion theme continued: blue and gold table cloths (also the school colors), photos of minions that helped students find their assigned tables, songs about friendship or minions, and a minion mascot who danced with students. Outside the lunchroom, students continued the festivities by doing activities in mixed-up classrooms.
C.R. Weeks Elementary School
Windsor, New York
After learning about the Mix It Up events held in their local middle school for the last five years and watching a TT webinar, organizers at C.R. Weeks Elementary decided to host their own Mix It Up at Lunch Day. They switched lunchtimes so that students in grades 3–5 could eat at the same time, and Student Council-led activities helped encourage conversations. The event was such a success that C.R. Weeks has planned additional Mix It Up at Lunch Days, an Olweus Bully Prevention Kick-Off, a monthly Breakfast Club and an end-of-year picnic for all the fifth-graders from all three of their elementary buildings.
EAGLE College Preparatory School: Tower
Saint Louis, Missouri
Middle school scholars at EAGLE College Preparatory School organized and ran their school’s very first Mix It Up at Lunch Day. To prepare for their roles, these organizers attended a summit called “A Culture of Allies: Bullying Prevention through Leadership.” On the actual day, students from all grades were matched to their tables with color-coordinated stickers that read, “I mixed it up at lunch today!” Each table seated inter-grade-level groups, and the student leaders helped facilitate discussions while teachers and administrators joined in. The event was so successful that the school plans to mix it up on the last Wednesday of each month for the rest of the school year.
Eastwood Knolls International
El Paso, Texas
This multi-year Mix Model School made its 2016 event part of Red Ribbon Week. Participants in Eastwood Knolls’ Mix It Up Day covered the lunch tables with paper and wrote messages like “Be kind to others,” “Make a new friend” and “You are unique.” As students walked into the cafeteria, they were handed a slip of paper that read, “I am unique because __________.” As they sat with new friends, each student filled in the blank on their slip of paper. Finally, everyone made a giant chain with their pieces of paper and displayed it in the hallway for all to see and read.
Edward E. Brickell Academy at Old
Virginia Beach, Virginia
For their December Mix It Up at Lunch Day, student leaders at Old Donation School made sure that each lunch had a different theme, with different music and activities. One activity they chose was “One Commonality,” during which students had to think of one thing they all had in common. Students listened to music together, worked together in problem-solving activities, got to know each other better and just had some plain old fun. In January, the school participated in the Great Kindness Challenge and held their annual Old Donation School Unity Day. Students and staff proudly wore wristbands embossed with “#Kindess@BrickellAcademyODS,” showing that they’re united for kindness, acceptance, inclusion and against bullying.
Elwood Kindle Elementary School
Pitman, New Jersey
Elwood Kindle has Mix It Up down cold: Students love it much that they cheer as the walk into the cafeteria! This year, the Mix-It-Up Day Committee chose Foodtastic Halloween as their theme. Students’ families joined in the festivities by bringing food for the local pantry, and the tables were shaped like pumpkins, with black and orange tablecloths. As everyone enjoyed lunch, they got to see a PowerPoint presentation of the Kindle Caring Kids Committee’s trip to the food pantry.
Emil A. Cavallini Middle School
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
To celebrate 10 years of mixing it up, Cavallini Middle School hosted three Mix It Up events (that’s just so far this year). Their October event, themed Mix It Up the Red Ribbon and Respect Way Day, involved students signing a drug-free pledge and thinking about people they respect. Mix It Up the Thankful Way was November’s theme, centered on who and what students were thankful for. Mix It Up the Winter Wonderland Way, December’s event highlighted the character trait of compassion. January’s event was all about resilience.
The Episcopal Academy Middle School
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
As in years past—and this is Episcopal Academy’s ninth year mixing it up—the school engaged in Mix-related activities all year, leading up to a full-day event in March. Cafeteria staff wore Mix It Up at Lunch Day T-shirts (as did the maintenance staff members), and they assisted in conveying the theme of defying labels. When students went through the cashier’s line, random students received an envelope with a task or set of questions to answer with the people at their mixed-up tables. This year’s focus was on different kinds of abilities, using this theme: “Look past our blind spots to gain insight into others.”
Fox Middle School
For 15 years, Fox Middle School has been mixing it up with an annual theme created by students, and students take the lead in decorating the cafeteria according to the theme. Another annual tradition: a student-created Mix video to get the school excited about the event (our favorite is Mix Macho Man!). Fox’s Mix coordinator says, “Students routinely tell us that this is their favorite lunch day of the year.” With trivia games at each table and a photo booth that students can use to capture memories with their new friends, it’s easy to see why.
Francis A. Desmares Elementary School
Flemington, New Jersey
When Francis A. Desmares Elementary celebrated their fifth Mix It Up at Lunch Day this year, they had recently completed a Week of Respect, so many of their conversations continued those discussions. Students mixed it up within their grade levels. A group of fourth-graders, acting as role models, developed activities for the first-graders. During the second-graders’ lunch, students worked in groups in a Friendship Scavenger Hunt and Friendship Bingo to learn more about each other. Third- and fourth-graders listed things they had in common with the students at their tables. “It’s Cool to Be Kind” bracelets were given to the table groups who worked well together and really embraced the spirit of the day.
Frank Porter Graham Bilingüe
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Three years out of Frank Porter Graham Bilingüe four-year existence, the school has hosted a Mix It Up event. This year, organizers compiled lessons and resources from Teaching Tolerance and shared them with all grade-level teachers, who then integrated the material into classes a week before Mix It Up at Lunch Day. Preparing fourth- and fifth-grade student leaders—including those classified as academically or intellectually gifted, those receiving special education and pairs of students who’d previously struggled to get along—was another important element of getting ready for the event. On the big day, “Would you rather?” questions created by the student leaders were a huge hit!
George I. Sánchez Elementary School
Students, counselors and other school staff worked together to pull off George I. Sánchez Elementary School’s second Mix It Up event. As students walked into the cafeteria, they received pieces of colored paper indicating where they would sit. With students of different grade levels at each table, conversation starter questions really helped them start chatting. To keep the spirit of kindness and inclusion going yearlong, this No Place for Hate school also hosts an annual Unity Day, Martin Luther King Peace Walk and No Name-Calling Week.
“Mix It Up and Give Respect” was the theme for Glynn Academy’s 10th Mix It Up at Lunch Day. They celebrated by doing Zumba, making paper chains featuring respectful words and giving out boxes of gum with the words “You are awesome” and “You are loved.” The school is set up like a small college campus—eight separate buildings divided by an actual through street. So, when the music started blasting outside and people started dancing in the street, everyone joined the party!
Hall-Dale Elementary School
Hall-Dale Elementary has mixed it up once each trimester for two years. Their Mix coordinator had this to say about one of the school’s recent Mix It Up Days: “We knew our event was a success by the remarks we heard from students and all the smiles and excitement felt throughout our school.” After a fun mixed-up lunch, the school had “character awards.” Teachers had previously chosen students who each embody a character word, such as honesty, respect, responsibility and kindness.
Harrison Elementary School
Livingston, New Jersey
For the past 10 years, Harrison Elementary has mixed it up the Friday before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to honor his contributions toward “creating a more peaceful, inclusive world,” says the event’s organizer. This year, with the double theme of “The Power of Yet” and superheroes, Mix It Up at Lunch Day was a two-part event. In the morning, all grades K–5 were mixed up in different classrooms, where they watched an inspiring video about Olympian Usain Bolt and made superhero shields with positive messages. They then danced together to Janelle Monáe’s “The Power of Yet” before heading into a mixed-up lunch.
Hereford Junior High School
This is Hereford Junior High’s first year mixing it up. As students exited the lunch line, they each received a Jolly Rancher that indicated which table they should join. A rotating PowerPoint presentation of conversation starters helped students start chatting at their tables. Students also got to take pictures together in a photo booth, and the memories were posted around the school for all to see.
Horizon Honors Elementary School
Mix It Up has always been a part of Horizon Honors Elementary School’s culture. The school was created without a cafeteria so that students could mix it up in their classrooms and eat as a community. During lunches each day, students are challenged to find someone new to eat with. During the last hour of the day, students work in teams in a class called Project Group. Students receive a “real-life” challenge and have to solve it by using teamwork and positive communication skills.
Ichabod Crane Middle School
Valatie, New York
The Friends of Rachel Club at Ichabod Crane Middle School got help from 27 high school students to host Mix It Up at Lunch Day, which was a hit with students and teachers alike! The “Would You Rather …” activities were particularly popular. After the event, the Friends of Rachel decided to continue with the Mix It Up theme by creating an activity called Friendsgiving. All students in grades 4-6 wrote on colored index cards what they are thankful for in a friend and then returned them to the Friends of Rachel group, who randomly sorted them. The day before Thanksgiving break, the cards were then re-distributed so that everyone received a kind word.
One result of Iles School’s five years of Mix It Up at Lunch Days has been a community garden that students created for the whole neighborhood; the school’s Mix coordinator has even noticed that students want to help in the community more. The elementary and middle school students have an exchange program with other schools: Iles student ambassadors ride buses to participating elementary and middle schools, and those students ride the buses back to Iles. Iles has helped cultivate a whole Mix-It-Up community!
Jack Jouett Middle School
Before their Mix It Up at Lunch Day, all Jack Jouett Middle School seventh-graders embarked on a project-based learning unit dedicated to addressing self-segregation in their cafeteria. The students then worked in teams to publicize, organize and lead Mix It Up at Lunch Day for the school’s sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. On the day of the event, students walked into a cafeteria decorated with streamers and balloons, with music playing and a disco ball lighting up the room. The seventh-grade leaders created “Get to Know You” bingo boards, which they gave to each student. When students turned in their bingo boards—nearly 400 total!—they got candy as a prize.
Kingston Middle School
Thanksgiving played a big role in Kingston Middle School’s second Mix It Up event: Student volunteers shared what they were thankful for, and others played a guessing game in which they had to name recipes. Kingston hosts A LOT of activities that promote unity, kindness and respect throughout the year, including activities that encourage students to improve school climate, “catch people being kind” and actively prevent bullying.
Klahowya Secondary School
Several student-led groups collaborated to host Klahowya’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day. This collective of student leaders chose the music that played in the lunchroom for all three lunch periods, greeted students as they walked into the commons area and directed their peers to their lunch tables. They also encouraged conversation at each table. The highlight? A marshmallow-tower-building contest, which was a fun and creative way to foster connectedness among new friends.
Lake Placid Elementary School
Lake Placid, New York
A core-planning group of fifth grade students met weekly for seven weeks to plan the fall Mix It Up Day at Lake Placid Elementary. After reviewing ideas from their peers, the student planners chose a sports theme. On Mix It Up at Lunch Day, students talked about their favorite sports and participated in a poster-coloring contest. Students also wrote inspiring messages on their posters, which were hung all around the cafeteria.
Leeds Middle School
Prior to Leeds Middle School’s Mix It Up Day, the school counselor invited the school’s Heritage Panel (courtesy of the YWCA) to present to the seventh- and eighth-graders on various -isms: racism, sexism, classism, ableism, sizism and heterosexism, as well as religious discrimination. Afterward, students anonymously wrote about -isms they’d experienced and placed those accounts on “bricks,” which were then used to build the Wall of Discrimination that they later tore down on Mix Day. Once at their tables on the big day, students read stories from random bricks and discussed what they could do to help stop the discrimination.
Linder Elementary School
Every student at Linder Elementary made at least one new friend at their much-anticipated Mix It Up at Lunch! Linder’s No Place for Hate student coalition thoughtfully planned questions for students to ask one another. The lunch schedules, seating arrangements, students and teachers were all mixed up, creating an exciting and positive experience. Students are already hoping for a second Mix It Up at Lunch Day this year.
Live Oak Elementary
San Ramon, California
Mix It Up at Lunch Day is just one of the ways Live Oak Elementary champions kindness. Student Council members took the lead this year by making posters and promoting the event. When their Mix Day arrived, students sat according to their birth month. The excitement and sharing lasted for days, and students are awaiting another Mix opportunity.
Lynn English High School
With the theme of “The Roaring '20s,” Lynn English High’s Mix dinner was a roaring success. The whole community was involved in this event: A local restaurant donated the meal, area supermarkets donated gift cards for purchasing paper goods, and local pizza shops donated gift cards for prizes. A fun matching game and a limbo contest were the highlights of the evening!
Manassas Park Middle School
Manassas Park, Virginia
Manassas Park Middle School has been hosting Mix It Up events for more than nine years. This year’s activities kicked off with lessons on identifying and breaking down stereotypes. Cougar Run, an after-school student group, created a video exploring the word multicultural, and a Multicultural Night featuring student performances, food tastings, projects and displays followed this full day of mixing it up.
Maywood Avenue School
Maywood, New Jersey
Maywood Avenue School has been hosting Mix It Up events for 14 years! This year’s Mix was well advertised with much of the planning done by students and a shout-out from the school district superintendent via Twitter. Students picked this year’s sports theme, and counselors gave lessons about character. Whether playing the card game Uno, filling out questionnaires or participating in a raffle, students were busy having fun and coming up with ideas for next year.
Monee Education Center
Monee Education Center celebrated their Mix Day with the theme “The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.” Staff catered a delicious hot breakfast as a background of smooth jazz filled the room. Students performed their entries to a rap/poem contest, and the parent ambassador spoke about the importance of respecting difference. To top it all off, everyone participated in a school-wide volunteer event.
Morris Grove Elementary School
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Mixed-up seating and clothing weren’t enough for Morris Grove Elementary: The cafeteria staff joined in the fun by mixing up students’ lunch trays, serving the food backward and mixing fruits and veggies together! With this fun spirit and conversation starters at every table, students were able to find common ground with new friends. After the Mix event, Morris Grove devoted a whole month to showing gratitude toward one another.
Narraguagus Jr/Sr High School
Students got all sugared up for Narraguagus High’s second year of Mix It Up at Lunch Day. Ten different types of candy were placed on the lunch tables for a pairing-up activity, and the school’s Civil Rights Team created fun trivia questions about the candy. Students ended the day by working together to solve a “real life challenge,” and they reflected on the value of teamwork, communication and diversity.
Northley Middle School
Northley Middle School was one of the winners of the Mix It Up Video Shoot Contest, so a professional camera crew filmed their 12th Mix It Up at Lunch Day! Not only was their cafeteria decorated with a superhero theme, but local superheroes participated too. Emergency Medical Services personnel, police officers, firefighters and military personnel engaged with the students through games and conversation starters. The students enjoyed interacting with their special superheroes and thanked all of them for their service.
Novi Meadows Elementary
Attentiveness, enthusiasm, acceptance, loyalty, forgiveness: These are some of the concepts Novi Meadows Elementary students discussed as they reflected on character for their fifth annual Mix celebration. Each student selected a piece of candy with a character word attached to it, and they sat at tables labeled to correspond to each word. Table topics helped students get to know one another, but conversation was especially centered on the value of having good character.
Oak Grove School
The laughter and excitement were infectious at Oak Grove School’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day, which they have been celebrating for more than eight years. Oak Grove Student Leaders sponsored and organized the event, and cafeteria staff eagerly got to know students as they went through the lunch line. Oak Grove carries the Mix It Up theme throughout the year with 28 school-wide, mixed-age groups aiming to inspire new friendships across all classrooms.
Odyssey Day School
Ice breakers and pizza—that’s all it took for Odyssey Day School’s students and staff to have a blast on Mix It Up at Lunch Day. The positive feedback was immediate, so they held a similar lunch shortly after the first one. (Kindergarteners had put in a special request to spend time with the first- and second-graders!) Odyssey is continuing to respond to students’ requests with multiple events throughout the year.
Old Town Elementary School
Old Town, Maine
Old Town Elementary has been hosting Mix It Up at Lunch Day for five years, and this year’s event was a big success. While having students fill out a pre-event “cookie poll” and delivering their favorite cookies on the big day certainly didn’t hurt, the students also enjoyed the time they spent focusing on kindness and respect. Almost immediately afterward, Old Town began planning their first-ever No Name-Calling Week. Better order more cookies!
Parsons Elementary School
North Brunswick, New Jersey
Students at Parsons Elementary love Mix It Up at Lunch Day so much that they request for it to be held once a month. Conversation starters help get students talking with new friends. Parsons also mixes it up with a Mismatch Day during which students and staff mix up what they wear. Everyone wears their clothing inside out and mixes up their hairstyles. It’s always a spunky day!
Patrick Henry Middle School
The spirit of Mix It Up is obvious at Patrick Henry, one of the winners of the Mix It Up Video Shoot Contest. This school has hosted incredible events to encourage positive self-identity and respect for others. For their Mix lunch, organizers decorated the lunch tables with balloons, tablecloths and labels featuring the names of colleges and universities, which students used to find their seats. Upbeat music and friendly table competitions were just the tip of the Mixberg, as the day’s fun led to a dance contest and flash mob!
Charleston, South Carolina
Porter-Gaud has been mixing it up for six years, and students love it so much that they ask to have Mix It Up Days regularly. Teachers and administrators join in the mix by facilitating conversations at each table. One way they follow up is by hosting WATCH Week: Words, Actions, Thoughts, Character and Habits. Those words also make up the school motto! They use this week to encourage reflection, good character and empathy.
Ravenscroft Middle School
Raleigh, North Carolina
Ravenscroft engaged in a thoughtful planning process to prepare for their Mix It Up at Lunch Day. In the months prior, students and administrators met in Mix It Up groups called “nests” to “help build camaraderie,” as one administrator said. They used Teaching Tolerance’s activity “Building the Wall of Intolerance” to examine their treatment toward one another. The day culminated with students knocking down their wall of intolerance!
Rodriguez Elementary School
Mix It Up at Lunch Day was a simple affair for Rodriguez Elementary School, which has been hosting Mix It Up for three years. This year, students met with new friends and had conversations about where they were from. Students gave positive feedback, and a Diversity Dance is now in the works to continue the spirit of Mix!
Saucon Valley Middle School
We love to hear about new ways to mix it up, and this one fits the bill: Saucon Valley Middle used a National Parks theme for their Mix It Up at Lunch Day! Participants stepped outside their comfort zones while learning about some of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States. Students worked together to present an informational video, and teachers created icebreakers to help the conversations flow.
South Mountain High School
Mix It Up Day was a full-blown party for students at South Mountain High School! A flash mob of more than 40 students and teachers was just the start. A DJ played music for line dances such as the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble, the Art Club painted faces for free, and the MEChA Club sponsored candies and backdrops for photos. Organizers passed around stickers and buttons featuring positive messages. One teacher reported that they day was “extremely and positively a huge success.”
St. Anne’s Episcopal School
St. Anne’s Episcopal was ready for something new for their annual Mix It Up at Lunch Day. Grades were jumbled up so that sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders could sit together at each table. The eighth-graders practiced their leadership skills by leading the conversation, which centered on get-to-know-you questions, such as, “If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?” and “Would you rather be Katniss Everdeen, Harry Potter or Tris Prior?” Students picked up giggles and candy along the way.
Starkweather Academy’s first-ever Mix It Up at Lunch Day proved to be a success! Students set up their cafeteria with tables covered in red, yellow and blue, which corresponded with the new seating arrangement. Questionnaires helped spark conversation, and sweet treats helped spark some sweet teeth! One way this school continued the Mix energy was through Ally Day, when students pledged to not use anti-LGBT language or slurs and to make the school a safe, inclusive place for all students.
The Summit School
Organizers of the first Mix It Up at Lunch Day at The Summit School selected Mix It Up groups and prepared an activity to help students connect with others. Each student was asked to think about three things that make them who they are, which helped students discover a number of things they had in common. This activity culminated in all students joining together to paint a poster that represented their unity. Now, Mix It Up at Lunch Day is held every month and has become a regular part of The Summit School’s culture.
Tilden Middle School
Tilden Middle School created a life-sized Mix-It-Opoly game! While wearing mixed-up clothing and jamming out to “Lean On Me,” students were organized according to street names in the Tilden community. Game boards and conversation prompts were placed at every table, and Instagram photo frames imprinted with “Breaking Down Social Barriers” encouraged students to grab a new friend and strike a pose.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day is nothing new for Tri-Cities Prep students. The school hosts this event every month and is a previous Model School. Each lunch starts with introductions and activities. An example of one lunchtime event involved each table receiving a packet of mazes, puzzles, riddles and brainteasers to work on together—but they switch it up every time! After each event, a “spork” award is given to a person who was instrumental in organizing. Students are always buzzing with ideas for the next month’s Mix.
Trinity Episcopal School
Charlotte, North Carolina
Trinity Episcopal students are used to mixing it up. Advisory groups consist of students in all three school levels: the eighth-graders are science buddies with the kindergarteners, the K–2 students have reading buddies in grades 3–5, and the entire school attends two events per week together. As if that isn’t enough, they’ve been hosting Mix It Up for more than 10 years. This year, they created an alternate lunch schedule allowing different grade levels to Mix together.
Tumwater Hill Elementary School
At Tumwater Hill, teachers worked hard to make special name tags for every student in preparation for their Mix lunch, which included all students in grades 1–6. Conversation starters were placed at every table, and the majority of students reported making at least one new friend! Tumwater Hill is planning to participate in the Great Kindness Challenge, and when they mix it up again, they’ll add the kindergarteners.
Van Buren Middle School
Van Buren, Ohio
Van Buren Middle School hosted their first Mix It Up Day this year due to the organizing work of the Friends of Rachel student group. They named it “New Friend Friday” and offered conversation starters at each table. It was so successful that students want to do it once a month! The Friends of Rachel were so inspired by the success of Mix that they created a “Kindness Calendar” for January with recommended random acts of kindness for each day of month.
Warhill High School
“Gazillions of tweets!” That’s how Warhill’s Mix coordinator knew students and teachers had tons of fun mixing it up with new friends this year. Students and teachers spent the whole day racing to find new friends, take pictures and share the love using and a school-wide hashtag, #MixitupWHS2k16. More events followed with the goal of promoting awareness, acceptance and unity, including a showing of the Teaching Tolerance film, Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot.
Weddington Middle School
Matthews, North Carolina
Children who typically sit alone get to enjoy meeting and talking with other students on Weddington’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day. That is just one of the many benefits parents, students and staff see from Mix It Up activities. Student Council members model speaking with students they don’t know and encourage others to do the same. After Mix It Up at Lunch Day, students sign a pledge to stand up for what is right. And once a month, they a wear purple instead of their school uniforms to remind them of their pledge.
Westwood Jr/Sr High School
Township of Washington, New Jersey
Members of Westwood’s National Junior Honor Society teamed up with members of other school organizations to lead this year’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day. After prepping with their own “break the ice” activity, these student leaders facilitated the big event by fostering conversations at each table and encouraging their peers to uphold a pledge they’d taken beforehand: I plan to sit with someone new at lunch. I will get to know them better, ask them questions, find mutual interests, and truly try to make a new friend.”
Windsor Central Middle School
Windsor, New York
As part of the school’s bully prevention kickoff, the Windsor Central Student Council organized this year’s fifth annual Mix It Up activities, and it was clearly a hit! One student was overheard saying, "Today was fun!" A second Mix It Up at Lunch Day will coincide with "Up With Life Day" in the spring, a full-day event devoted to making positive choices and enriching Windsor’s culture.
Winnebago Middle School
The theme this year for Winnebago Middle School’s Mix It Up was Internet Safety and Anti-bullying. Prior to the big day, the Winnebago County state’s attorney gave a talk on internet safety. In the midst of all this cyber awareness, WMS made it a device-free day and encouraged teachers to center lessons on social interaction!
Woodglen Elementary School
New City, New York
Woodglen Elementary held their fourth Mix It Up at Lunch Day in December, when students wore name badges they made themselves. Before the event, students learned that the theme of the big day was all about being kind. Once they got to lunch, each student gave a compliment to the person next to them, which earned them a kindness badge. After the lunch, there was follow-up discussion about how it felt to receive and give a compliment.
Woodland Middle School
East Meadow, New York
Woodland has been mixing it up for four years and used posters and daily announcements to get students ready for this year’s event, which was focused on and games and apps. Sixth- and seventh-graders were seated at lunch according to games, with student leaders getting the conversation going. Eighth-grade students participated in five periods of team-building activities, ending their day with self-reflection.
Woodmont High School
Piedmont, South Carolina
Students, teachers and staff came together at Woodmont High to plan their first-ever Mix It Up event. During the event, student leaders passed out 12 questions for which everyone had to find the matching answers. The participants were so excited and enjoyed it so much they were asking when the next one would be! One thing Woodmont has planned in the spirit of Mix is a rally to ban the r-word. Way to encourage respect, Woodmont!