Teacher Uses Lunch to Encourage Students

by Brenna Henderson ’21

At the start of the second semester, chorus and piano teacher Johnathan Dunn started an open-door lunch where students who do not have a place to be at lunch can sit in his classroom. Held in room E150, the lunch is a safe and friendly place for students to meet new people and talk to Dunn.

So far, five students have come to eat lunch in the piano room and Dunn tries to engage conversation with every one of them. “I spend one on one time with each student, talking to them about their day, their lives, situations, [and] circumstances,” explained Dunn.  “When specific issues arise, I advise them and work to create a plan to help them.” If the piano room is ever closed or if Dunn is absent, the music suite across the hall is available.

Dunn came up with the idea after conversations with students and through discussions in his graduate program at Hood College. He announced it to the classes he teaches at Sherwood and has extended the invitation to all students in the school. “It is my hope that every student has a place they can go and a social group to call their own,” said Dunn. “If there are students who feel otherwise, we all have a responsibility to ensure they are encouraged, valued, supported and loved.”