Lunch buddies share kindness with special needs kids

Lunch buddies share kindness with special needs kids

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The lunch buddies pictured (from left) are Matthew Elvington, Jenna Wade, Mia Cepeda, Hailey Petruzzi and Jackson Edwards-Remy, accepting their awards Monday at a school board meeting. Teachers (from left) Sanchez, Kathleen Masone and Rhiannon Rizzo and Rella were present to thank the students for their kindness. Students Frank Corona, Albiezy Delgado and Emelin Torres Peralta were not at the meeting but also participated in the program, school officials said. Photo by Alex Petroski

Students from Terryville Road Elementary School in the Comsewogue School District were honored at a board of education meeting Monday night for their participation in the school’s Lunch Buddy Program, which pairs special education students with students from other classrooms to have lunch once a week.

“The lunch buddies’ program is based off a research-based program called peer-to-peer, where students from a special education classroom and a general education classroom meet together … to have lunch and practice their social skills,” teacher Kylynn Sanchez said. “Also they can make connections in a more natural setting. The hope is that they’re able to go off on the playground and continue those connections.”

Terryville Principal April Victor said in an email Tuesday she is proud of all the students involved.

“Throughout the year this amazing group of students have exemplified kindness and understanding of individual differences,” she said.

Superintendent Joe Rella echoed Victor’s sentiments Monday: “I think one of the hallmarks of this community is being concerned about other people, not just being concerned about yourself.”