Arlington students 'Start With Hello'

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ARLINGTON — Arlington Memorial and Fisher Elementary School students participated in a weeklong, national initiative intended to promote inclusivity.

From Sept. 23 to 27, the school district joined thousands of schools across the country as part of "Start With Hello" week, a program organized by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization led by several family members whose children were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, C.T., in 2012.

The program aims to bring attention to social isolation and its attendant risks.

The week's events started with students from both schools posing for a photograph while standing in an arrangement that spelled out "HELLO." Missy Wilcox, public relations officer for the Arlington School District, stood on the roof of Fisher Elementary to capture the photo, which was shared by Sandy Hook Promise on social media.

Students participated in a range of activities throughout the week, including a short dramatic play, discussion circles, the creation of "helping hands" displays and a "No One Eats Alone" day. The high school's

student council also randomly distributed treats with messages throughout one school day.

"Our community stands together to diminish social isolation and promise inclusion," Arlington Memorial Middle and High School Principal Sarah Merrill said in a news release.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan

@benningtonbanner.com.

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