Collier Middle School hosted their first annual Compassion Fair to help students gain sympathy for their peers who may have different challenges of their own.
Spearheaded by Collier Middle School Principal, Judy Chevalier, the idea of hosting a Compassion Fair came about by students frequently expressing their frustration at their peers who may take a little longer reading, have trouble listening or speaking, difficulty with fine motor skills, or mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
“The purpose of the Compassion Fair is to deepen our students’ awareness of individual challenges in an effort to become more accepting and compassionate with one another,” Ms. Chevalier stated. “It is our hope that students will reflect upon how it felt to walk in another’s shoes and apply that the next time they start to feel discouraged with their fellow students.” And that was certainly the case especially for Collier Middle School sixth grader Logan. “The Compassion Fair made me feel sad that there are people that live with those problems. I learned that we all need to be more helpful to make it easier for them to get through their day.”
Aided by the Collier Middle School social work and related services staff, the event consisted of eight “Experience Stations” for students to follow. Each station represented various challenges such as visual, speech, attention deficits, and dealing with vulnerable feelings. After each activity, students were asked to reflect upon how they felt and rate their stress level on a scale from 1-10. They were then given several “cool down” activities such as blowing bubbles, playing with kinetic sand, and chewing gum to help bring down their stress level which they can incorporate into their own day-to-day action plan.