Glynn Academy recently received recognition from the Southern Poverty Law Center for its inclusion efforts through the annual Mix It Up at Lunch Day.

The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program named Glynn Academy as a Mix It Up Model School for its successful efforts to foster respect and understanding among its students and on campus this school year.

“We commend Glynn Academy for finding innovative ways to create environments where respect and inclusiveness are core values,” said Maureen Costello, the Teaching Tolerance program director at SPLC. “Though Model Schools vary in size and demographics, they all serve as great examples of how a school — any school — can cultivate these values among their students, faculty and staff.”

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a national event that encourages students to cross social boundaries and make new friends.

Mary Belechak, a school counselor at Glynn Academy who helped organize the event, said the event gets students out of their comfort zones and helps break down cliques.

Mix It Up Model Schools must meet certain criteria. Those schools must have hosted a Mix it Up at Lunch Day during the 2016-17 school year and have included different members of the school’s community, among other distinctions.

Glynn Academy is among 76 schools to receive this designation.

Glynn Academy’s counselors, along with Community in Schools of Glynn hosted the event, and administrators, teachers and students participated.

Glynn Academy hosted its tenth year of the event last October.

The SPLC noted that Glynn Academy’s Mix It Up Day is unique because it ties in the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) program. The theme of Glynn Academy’s event was “Mix It Up for Respect,” and students wrote words of respect on pennant triangles, which were on display outside.

The Teaching Tolerance program has hosted Mix It Up at Lunch Day for the past 15 years, as part of an effort to help students demonstrate the importance of respecting each other’s differences.

The 2017 event will be held on Oct. 31.

Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at or at 265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.