Seventh- and eighth-grade students from the Lancaster and Whitefield schools joined together for the annual Tolerance Day on Feb. 15. Tolerance Day was born out of the dual desire to create awareness around the issues of bullying and harassment and provide an opportunity for the students of both schools to interact. Seventh graders in both schools read and discuss the young adult novel, "The Revealers," by Vermont author, Doug Wilhelm. Eighth graders in both schools read and discuss "The Outsiders," by S.E. Hinton. Both novels have themes of how young adults come to terms with issues of bullying, harassment and social class.

Tolerance Day provides the unique opportunity for students to spend the day moving through six stations. The students in both schools created the stations by participating in a Critical Skills Challenge. Students followed the guidelines of the challenge to create an acceptable station for Tolerance Day. The top three stations from each school were then selected to be part of the rotation on Tolerance Day.

The Lancaster students selected to run stations this year were eighth-graders Morgan Tanguay and Amelia Daigle who ran a station called Create a Cube which focused on students with disabilities; seventh-graders Kylee Bailey, Makenna Force, Kennedy Blanchette and Makayla Walter ran the Grid Challenge station; seventh-graders Matt Ellis, Kylee Casner, Garret Brigati and Jacob Wasuta utilized the gym and had three activities for their station which included a four-legged race, picture perfect activity, and a tolerance word creation. Whitefield student presenters included the following: at the Paper Plate Awards station were Louis Ryan, Deleon Rodriguez, Alex Moyer, Remington Smith and Michael Murphy; the Direction Game station presenters were Katelyn Dubreuil, Sabryna Smith, Athena Chase and Elijah Ratliff; at the Life Map station were Allison Husson, Jessica Duncan, Andrew Gould and Joe Plummer.

Whitefield and Lancaster students are paired up as buddies for the day. The buddies spend the day together. They travel through all six stations, eat lunch together and participate in team building and getting acquainted activities.

The day ended with all students gathering in the gym. Kelly Renaud, the Student Assistance Program teacher, showed the movie, If You Knew Me. At periodic intervals, she held discussions with the students on various topics related to increasing tolerance.

Tolerance Day is a special occasion and is one of the few times students from both schools join together. That Friday was a day where our middle schools students learned about tolerance issues, team building, collaboration and made new friends.

For more information or questions about Tolerance Day, contact Deb Fogg at (603) 788-4924.

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