Positive Pals: A Group of Friendship and Inclusivity

Adrianna Kostyack, Journalist

    Making connections and forming lifelong friendships are imperative for one to live a healthy life. Sometimes, these special bonds can begin with simply spending time with someone in elementary school, and sometimes, this simple act of compassion can lead to friendship that will last a lifetime. 

    The Positive Pals Program at Surrarrer Elementary school believes in this very principle of allowing all students the opportunity to form friendships with each other. In the 60 Seconds with the Superintendent video about the program, Dr. Ryba describes the program’s goal as enabling the “building [of] positive relationships and friendships between typical peers and our students with disabilities.” 

    The Positive Pals Program was developed and is run by guidance counselor Megan Sislowski and intervention specialist Michaela Buckley with the precedent to forge a bridge to connect all students together. On a daily basis, fourth and fifth grade students involved in Positive Pals will spend time with their partner peers and do activities together like playing games, learning on chromebooks, going for walks, and hanging out during recess. When asked what her favorite part of the program was, Buckley stated, “I just love being able to see the friendships form between the students and the bonds and connections they make and really just hitting that inclusion piece of realizing that ‘yeah, everyone is different, but everyone has something to offer.’” Even on the days when students are feeling down, remembering that they can go hang out with their partner through the Positive Pals program lifts their spirits and gives them the will to push through.

    As said by Buckley, “Coming out of your comfort zone and being inclusive is something that is important and can teach you a lot about yourself and others.” It is important to never judge a book by its cover or think any less of someone just because they are different from oneself. Everybody has their differences that make them who they are; it’s our differences that allow connections to be made and friendships to be developed. The Positive Pals Program at Surrarrer achieves this notion of inclusivity by allowing students of all walks of life to form friendships that may last a lifetime. A friendship that starts with a simple greeting can last a lifetime.