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Killearn Lakes Elementary Wins Statewide Award For 'Friendsgiving' Program

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Leon County Schools

Killearn Lakes Elementary School is being awarded by the Florida Department of Education for one of its programs aimed at bolstering family involvement. The school is one of nine the state recognized for their efforts.

“Friendsgiving” is a simple concept. Held over lunch, the event saw Killearn Lakes students mix together with all different grade levels. The objective was to earn “friendship bracelets,” with one stipulation – they had to introduce themselves and converse with at least three schoolmates they didn’t know.

Marcy Grauer, who teaches third grade at Killearn Lakes, was instrumental in putting the program together.

"We really promoted it throughout the week by talking to our students about what it means to make a friend, and how do we make a friend? And we also had parents come and get to break bread with each other as well and enjoy lunch among other parents and students," Grauer said.

To Grauer, “Friendsgiving” has a very practical purpose applied in the classroom environment.

"Classes get kind of clique-ish. You have 18 kids in a class, sometimes 20," Grauer said. "And as you go throughout the year, those students really get to know people in their class, but they might not necessarily get to know the kids that are in other classes."

Each of the DOE award’s winners will get to present their programs at the Educational Strategies and Student Engagement Institute in November.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.