By Galion City Schools

Galion City Schools appreciates any opportunity to allow students to be social, make new friends and feel comfortable in their environment. Galion is proud to have participated in Start with Hello Week on September 19-23, promoting student interaction with daily activities.

Start with Hello Week is a program through the Sandy Hook Promise organization to promote activities designed to fight social isolation in schools. These activities encourage friendships and help students who may be feeling lonely.

At Galion, we began our week with Meet and Greet Monday, where students wore comfy clothes to “get comfy meeting new people.” Upstander Tuesday allowed students to wear hats to celebrate the day’s theme, “Hats off to upstanders.”

“We understand the importance of combating social isolation,” said Galion Superintendent Jennifer Allerding. “ We strive to create an inclusive learning environment for all our students. Start with Hello Week is a terrific way to promote those goals and get our students to interact in a safe and fun way.”

On Wednesday, Galion students wore green to show Start with Hello Week pride. Many students not only wore green shirts and sweatshirts, but we even had some with green face paint! Trusted Adult Thursday saw our students wear shirts depicting their favorite superhero to honor the adult heroes in our lives.

We ended Start with Hello Week, “looking to a brighter future,” where students dressed like their future selves or wore their favorite college clothes to celebrate who they will be in years to come. Every day, students went all out in their chosen outfits, and the activities provided a lot of fun with some new friends being made.

“It was a really great week,” Allerding added. “Any time we can get our students to participate in activities, it creates opportunities for them to interact and make new connections. That’s important to their development, and it’s important for them to be able to gain those social skills they will need outside of school. Overall, we’re grateful for all the work our teachers and staff put into the week. It was a huge success!”

As we continue into the 2022-2023 school year, we will look at different ways to encourage a sense of belonging for all our students, including Buddy Benches at Galion Primary School. This bench is a place for students who are feeling lonely to sit and, without saying anything, signal that they need someone to play with or a friend. 

Galion City Schools remains dedicated to its mission of providing a supportive, social-emotional, safe and respectful environment that cultivates learners of tomorrow. Reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation is just one way we are working to create a welcoming environment for all of our Tigers.

Photo: Galion City Schools