Whoever said breakfast is the most important meal of the day clearly has not experienced lunch at Friendswood Junior High.
In early February of this year, the Best Friends Lunch Club began. It originated as a pilot program earlier in the year when teachers selected a few students to eat lunch with the special education students a couple of times a week.
After seeing the success of the program, the students approached their teacher Augusta Cloyd about expanding the program to other students.
“When all of us felt really good about [the pilot program], the students requested, ‘we want this to grow,’” A. Cloyd said. “So, we started [the Best Friends Lunch Club] and the students were all really excited. I would say it’s already a huge success; students have been smiling and laughing, just having a good time.”
Amongst some of the students in the club are eighth-graders Cole Brock, Skyler Cloyd and Nicole McGill. The three have formed a friendship in their short-time knowing each other through eating lunch together once or twice a week.
“I decided to join the Best Friends Lunch Club because I thought it would be fun to have lunch in different places,” McGill said. “I love talking to the other students because it’s just like I have even more friends, so that is a lot of fun for me.”
S. Cloyd agreed.
“As soon as I heard about [the club], it was something I wanted to be a part of, and it’s been great. I’ve gotten to go to the Special Olympics along with other things,” he said.
The main goal of the club, according to A. Cloyd, is to have the students “develop meaningful friendships and good memories.” This is a goal that has already been achieved.
“A lot of times, something funny is said and there’s a lot of laughter, and laughter is contagious, so I love it,” McGill said with a big grin. “We have a lot of fun.”
Brock said simply talking is what he finds to be the most fun part of being in the club.
“There is so much to talk about because I don’t care what we talk about; I just like talking,” Brock said. “[Eating lunch together] helps me be able to talk to my friends.”
McGill and S. Cloyd both agreed their communication skills have vastly improved since joining the Best Friends Lunch Club.
“I’ve learned a lot about communication skills,” McGill said. “You have to look at people when you talk and speak loudly. I used to speak really quietly when I was little, so I’ve been working on projecting my voice.”
S. Cloyd said discussing classes and what is going on in everyone’s lives has helped him learn how to keep a conversation going. Through these conversations, the students have expressed how much they have in common with one another.
“With Cole, we connect. We like a lot of the same things and have a lot in common like our love for music,” S. Cloyd said. “We’re able to get away from the worries of school life and just sit and talk about the things we love.”
This unity is one of the hopes A. Cloyd had when starting the club; she said she wanted the students to see how similar they all are to one another.
“Of the benefits I’ve seen so far, the biggest one is gaining a better understanding of each other,” she said. “They all have the same needs and wants. They all want to have friends, they all want to be able to fit in, they all – at lunchtime – want to get away and relax and chill and laugh and be silly. I just think that is so very important for all of us in our everyday lives.”
As the Best Friends Lunch Club continues to grow, FISD is certain it will continue to foster relationships and make a great impact on the students.