We Connect Wednesdays
March 9, 2018
The room was completely full with over 20 students. The desks that once held binders instead held Jenga towers that swayed with every move, and on the sides of the table were various different snacks. Popular music played in the background while people mingled and enjoyed pizza, chips, and different confections that were brought.
The first “We Connect Wednesday” meeting was held Wednesday.
Now added to the abundant list of groups and clubs that SDA holds is “We Connect Wednesday.” The “meetings,” which are better described as events and social gatherings, take place at lunch on every late-start Wednesday at P-6 and consist of meeting new people, eating a variety of food, listening to music, and playing board games.
The club’s main coordinator, social sciences teacher Jamie Duck, plans to keep SDA’s social groups tight and allow for a connected community. “The club is all about connecting students with their peers and teachers. It is the hope of several teachers on campus that his club becomes a place where students can eat lunch, play games, and meet new people in a casual, safe environment. We are hoping that it will make the campus a smaller place,” Duck said.
People from all grades can attend and attempt to meet new people and get to know each other. “I think it sounded like a good way to meet people I don’t know. I wanted to expand my circles around SDA. I think I often stay in one friend group and I don’t branch out, [so] I’m here to make friends,” junior Hannah Weber said.
While many came in their regular friend group, the food, as well as Jenga, allowed people to socialize with groups they typically don’t talk to. “I think it’s super cool because I didn’t know these two people [points at people in his table] and now I know that they’re both freshmen and I thought that was super cool because I know their classes too…meeting new people is always scary, but this makes it a little bit easier,” sophomore Bryan Gibson said
The club seeks to preserve SDA’s friendly and close atmosphere despite the growth on campus. “It’s going to enhance how connected the students are. It’s all about making connections,” social sciences teacher Kelly Hawkins said.
Teachers Kelly Hawkins, Robert Ross, Sheryl Bode, David Bair, Assistant Principal Celeste Abdelnaby, as well as the club’s organizer, Jamie Duck all attended the first meeting and helped spark conversations within the tables. “This is a campus wide effort. Admin, students, and teachers are all behind the idea that we need to create opportunities for students to connect and feel a sense of belonging” Duck said.
“It’s great because this is a school about connectedness and this is a perfect place to come connect. Most [students] don’t know where to come and do that,” Hawkins said.
Most students that attended heard about the club from their teachers who promoted the club as a fun way to come together and eat food:
“I heard about it from Mrs. Duck’s class. I was a little nervous there wouldn’t be enough people, but there was a lot of people and I am very happy about that,” Gibson said.
“Usually I am in Mrs.Baggin’s room and she told me to come here and that it would be a ton of fun and that I would meet new people. I like that there’s a lot of people here. It’s fun. I feel like it’s going to make a difference in our school,” freshman Josue Vasquez Rios said.
“Mrs. Duck told us about it in fourth period Psychology and it sounded like fun. I could hang out. Have pizza. She told us to invite [others that we may not necessarily know] so that they could hang out with us and we could hang out with them,” sophomore Harry Van Loan said.
“I heard about it through Mrs. Nebolon since I’m in PALs and I thought it would be a fun way to meet new people and get involved with people I don’t know,” Weber said.
Many students agreed in saying that the club would be a positive addition to SDA’s community and would help bridge a gap between different social groups:
“I think it will provide more of a sense of community between people who don’t feel as connected with a particular friend group or club. It’s a good way for people to meet other people that they don’t share classes [with] or wouldn’t normally see on campus,” Weber said.
“I think it’s a great idea and we kind of base it off of things that other schools do…I like that there is one set area where everybody can be around each other and hanging out and make new friends,” Loan said.
“I think it represents friendship and everyone can be friends,” Rios said.
“Really good idea…I think SDA is having a lot of trouble with losing its friendship because it’s getting so big and I think this is going to really preserve it,” Gibson said.
The club is open to all ages and plans to expand on the different games they have “Maybe some magnetic darts and bocce ball eventually. But for now, we have Jenga and some other board games,” Duck said. The club showed better results than expected and plans on expanding further. “We were hoping to get a pretty good turn-out and we succeeded. There were over 20 students here, at least 5 teachers, and at least 2 different administrators,” Duck said.
“Step one [is to] get here. Step two [is to] have fun,” Hawkins said.