Students make connections through Start With Hello Week


Courtesy of Taylor Lewis

The MSMS Spirit Squad hosted a week of engaging activities for students.

Chloe Dobbins, Staff Writer

MSMS participated in Start With Hello Week, a national program meant to help students end social isolation in their community, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1. Start With Hello Week is intended to drive schools to foster an inclusive and supportive learning environment via engagement activities and encouragement of students to take on leadership roles. 

Throughout the week, MSMS students and faculty engaged in several after-school activities meant to allow students to socialize with one another. 

On Monday, the Spirit Squad hosted “Get-to-Know-You Bingo,” in which students were given a bingo card with spots containing different activities or descriptions. Students had to find others who had done the activity or fit the description listed and let them sign their bingo card. The goal of the bingo game was to get students to introduce themselves to other students. 

One junior, Lauren Varner, felt that the bingo game helped students interact with each other more. 

“I saw a lot of people talk to people they had never talked with before. I helped people I haven’t met before,” Varner said. 

On Tuesday, the College and Career Readiness class hosted a seminar on avoiding microaggressions. The seminar’s goal was to help create a more inclusive environment at school by teaching students about what microaggressions are and how to identify and avoid them.

On Wednesday, students were encouraged to wear green to school, the color that represents Start With Hello Week. After class, students drew with chalk on the steps of Hooper. Junior Eren Riggle said he enjoyed the after-school activities. 

“Drawing was nice because everyone was able to be creative for a bit, and we all got to talk to each other,” Riggle said. 

On Thursday, Director for Student Affairs LeAnn Alexander hosted classic recess games after school. Behind Frazer and Goen hall, students could play games they enjoyed as kids: hopscotch, basketball and foursquare. 

On Friday, MSMS completed Start With Hello Week with a movie, which allowed students to wind down after the week at MSMS.

At the close of Start with Hello Week, students had many different opinions on how the week went. Senior Jordan Isbell said he felt optimistic that Start With Hello Week would create a more open and social environment at MSMS. 

“I hope [Start With Hello Week] helps students to realize…[MSMS] is more than just showing your academic side. It’s showing how we as a community can band together and make ourselves known on this campus,” Isbell said. 

Isbell said he hoped the week’s activities and message would discourage students from feeling they do not belong on campus and help students feel more motivated and inspired. 

“Having motivation and spirit not only for your school but for yourself can really make wonders for the rest of your career, even after this semester,” Isbell said. 

Junior Anna Bigham said she also enjoyed the Start With Hello Week activities; however, she said she was unsure how much of an effect on campus the program would actually have. 

“I think Hello Week will help people meet other people, but I don’t know if anyone will make deep connections,” Bigham said. 

Bigham said Start With Hello Week was a good starting point for ending social isolation on campus, though.

“I do think Hello Week is a good idea. I just think we could probably expand on it better,” Bigham said.