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Angels in our Midst (Pensacola Episcopal Day School)
For the past three years, the students at Pensacola's Episcopal Day School have collected school supplies, coats, toys and, most recently, books for the children at Oakcrest Elementary.
They knew that some of the Oakcrest students didn't have many of the advantages that they sometimes take for granted.
Episcopal Day School did this for children they had never even met until this past week.
It has been a much anticipated day. Episcopal Day School meets Oakcrest Elementary.
The students are paired with a buddy and given some time to get to know each other. They stake out their space armed with a questionnaire to help break the ice. Learning a name is a good place to start.
Samara Joshua, 3rd Grader Oakcrest Elementary; "I actually did learn how to pronounce her name because at first I thought it was 'Kas-ee' but it's actually 'K-see:.'"
Robert Harrison, 4th Grader EDS; "His mom was born in Africa, so, he's not like 100 percent American but he's really cool."
Different names. Different backgrounds, different social standings, different religions. but for all of their differences.
Robert; "We are very alike because, he asks me questions and all I hear is, I do too, or I like that show."
Mandiate Mbaye, 3rd Grader Oakcrest Elementary; "I like cheeseburgers; he likes cheeseburgers. I play basketball; he plays basketball. Also, we both are the same age. We were both born in 2002, right?"
Samara Joshua, 3rd Grader Oakcrest Elementary; "Well, for one thing, I can tell you she's nice. She does like to be around people but we both do have stage fright. YEAH."
Kasey Page, 7th Grader EDS; "Samara is just so nice. She's like an open book, she'll tell anything. And she is very, very friendly."
It wasn't even a matter of minutes before the entire room was buzzing. New buddies getting to know each other. There were lots of smiles, laughs. There was such an ease that those "differences" seemed non-existent. The children definitely get it. There is more that unites us than divides us. They haven't had time to build walls and settle into prejudices.
Stephanie Gutierrez, 7th Grader EDS; "They all have the same interests, same goals, same dreams. So, we're all pretty much the same."
Mandiate; "My mom always said, Don't judge people by how they look. Don't judge them by their skin color, how they look."
Their time together was nothing short of a success, to a point that they weren't ready to say goodbye. There is an ultimate goal that the buddy project sponsors are hoping for as they have more gettogethers, but the students may have already achieved that.
"Do you think you might be friends for a long time."
(Both girls) "Oh yes, Yes, ma'am. We'll be friends for a long time."
Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.