By PCY Principal, Dr. Debra Cradduck
Mark Twain once said, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” While our school campus is a place where learning takes place, it’s also a place where students do much more than learn new concepts and ideas in the classroom. Not only do they learn how to collaborate and work together as a team, students learn the value of creating relationships with their peers. This year, PCY has placed a heavy emphasis on creating an environment where students feel comfortable coming to school. As the staff continues to advocate for a school that cares for our students’ emotional well-being, our spirit rallies have addressed important anti-bullying tips, as well as way to stand up for others who are being bullied. As our student form these incredibly important bonds at school, the key ingredient to these successful relationships has been kindness.
An excited buzz rang throughout Mrs. Selsor’s classroom as she introduced a new assignment that the fifth grade class would be taking on for the entire month of December. She came across the idea one day, while reading about the inspiring and uplifting stories of strangers doing random acts of kindness. Most of the students had read about these incredibly powerful movements, and she thought to herself, “What a significant impact it would make if my entire class did intentional acts of kindness for a whole month!” And so, the December Kindness Campaign was born. Mrs. Selsor passed out a calendar indicating what the students would do as their act of kindness for the day. The calendar was filled with a variety of different activities, ranging from simple tasks, such as telling five people to have a nice day, to bigger tasks, such as “Post-It bombing” the school.
After the kindness campaign ended, I interviewed two fifth grade students who shared their personal experiences and takeaways from the month-long assignment. Sofia Scavo and Ty Harlan both mentioned that they really enjoyed journaling about their experiences. They explained that at the end of each day, students would write a short post in google classroom which reflected on their random act of kindness which they were assigned for the day. Sofia shared, “It was so interesting to see how different people reacted to the different activities each day. The reactions were really based on how much effort we put into the activity. For example, holding the door open for someone returned a less grateful reaction than when I gave someone a handmade card I had really worked hard on.” Ty added that it started off with the students feeling like they were the ones trying to make other people happy, but doing the acts of kindness made him feel really good about himself because he felt like he was being proactive in making a difference in his home and school.
One of the most memorable moments for both the fifth graders and for the entire PCY staff was when the students spent one whole morning “Post-It bombing” the entire school. The students worked hard to show appreciation to the teachers by writing single letters on post-it notes, and arranging them to read: “PCY LOVES MR./MRS. ______”. The colorful signs filled the school for a few days and served as a powerful tool in cheering up teachers as they opened up their classrooms each morning. Ty mentioned, “It was so much fun doing it for the whole school. Some of us picked teachers that we had in previous years so it had extra meaning for us. Others volunteered to do teachers that they didn’t even know very well. It didn’t matter because the whole point was to show everyone how much we cared.” Sofia mentioned that the acts of kindness which were completed throughout the month caused others to do nice things for someone else. “People seemed really excited and it made me happy to be a part of that.”
In taking initiative to spread kindness throughout the whole school, the fifth graders made an impact on their peers and teachers. The kindness campaign brought the school together and showed us how a group of like-minded individuals have the power to make a big difference in just one month. When asked if she would continue this assignment next year, Mrs. Selsor responded, “Absolutely. It was such an invaluable experience that the kids and I both loved.” It’s this type of character building that makes our school such a special place for students and staff to be. Kindness, even in the smallest doses, has the power to change someone’s day.