The seniors are busy at work creating their senior projects. Senior Nora Kelly is committed to encouraging students to reach out and make conversation and connections with the Special Education students. This is her senior project and she has called it the Lunch Buddies.
Nora Kelly’s senior project is all about promoting “…growth for the students who organize the lunch buddies; they organize the lunch meetings, forge new relationships, and learn how to interact with neurodiverse individuals. These experiences will prepare them post-secondary as they interact with individuals with special needs within the community and society at large. Conversely, it also promotes learning for students who have special needs in many of the same respects additionally, they practice social-emotional and communication skills with their lunch buddy; further enhancing what they are learning within their classroom programs” according to Special Education teacher Mr. Adrian Cortez.
English teacher, Mrs. Connie Dignan, has described Nora’s senior project as “…an opportunity for CHS students to eat lunch with our special needs students. Her project encourages conversation and new friendships.” Nora has said, herself, that
she “…came up with this idea because freshman year I had a friend named Mady who has Special Needs and I loved sitting with her at lunch. However, the next year Mady ended up having a different lunch and had a really hard time with some people in that lunch. So I thought that there couldn’t be a better way to find her kids in her lunch to sit with that would make her feel welcome.”
Every student deserves to have someone to sit with at lunch and feel like they are a part of something. This is what Nora has done for this school and the students who feel less accepted than most. Also, all students involved are given a chance to make friends and “…learn about each other in an environment that they normally wouldn’t have been able to do.” says Kelly.
Cortez hopes “…as this gains participation and visibility among the student body, it will be a part of the inclusive culture of CHS that promotes diversity, acceptance, and support of students of all neurodiverse abilities.” With Nora’s project, there will be a positive change in interactions between students. This gives students a chance to help change someone else’s life and make a connection. Senior projects are very important for the student and the community in which the project will affect. This is exactly what Nora Kelly’s senior project will do.