Bringing More Friends to the Lunch Table

By Alexandra Milman

Looking around the room and seeing everyone conversing but you. The feeling of failure, shame, and embarrassment. The resentment and jealousy of others who seem to have more friends than you, hoping that someone will look upon you and just start a friendly conversation. Full Tables, a new club at South, hopes to end this feeling of isolation, uniting students through conversation.
Full Tables is a club full of friendly, accepting people who want to make new friends and to create a more inclusive environment. Each day, people will experience moments of loneliness, and Full Tables wants to make this feeling of isolation a thing of the past at South. Members will strive to pay closer attention to the students around them and to start conversations with those they feel are left out. Making friends and being a teenager is hard—and Full Tables would like to eliminate some of the difficulty. Member Cydney Tang said she “always felt kind of shy and feels Full Tables might be a better way to branch out.”
Ninth grade health teacher Mr. James Millevoi, honors biology teacher Ms. Vanessa Cum, guidance counselor Mr. Christopher Erickson, and club founder Ben Menchell will all be working to make the school a more inclusive place. Mr. Erickson feels that the best way to end isolation is to have students reach out. Ms. Cum became a club organizer because she often sees her freshmen students isolated and thought that “if there was a club where students who feel this way could come together, it would be a good idea.” Mr. Millevoi has often made conversation with students he perceived as being ignored and feels that he has ended some of their solitude. His main concern is that students who are approached by club members might feel self-conscious.
However, Mr. Millevoi would rather make a mistake than have a sad kid. The cases of excluded students are only increasing as social media and electronic communication is rising in popularity; nevertheless, the need for in-person socialization is universal. The competitive environment of South is also a contributor to the social isolation as kids are under intense pressure and spend most of their time studying.
The club meets on Mondays and has a Google classroom for all students interested in joining. A world without sad or lonely kids can be attained with the dedicated members of Full Tables.