CENTENARY — Is it cool to be kind? Students and teachers at Gallia Academy High School seem to think so.
What started out as a way to encourage and promote random acts of kindness has evolved into a school-wide program that honors students and staff for doing good.
“I started it last year, and it really was a big deal as soon as we started it. The staff noticed so many kids doing so many great things and it didn’t seem like that was always the focus,” said Librarian Amanda Bailey. “So when we started it, we started picking out students that did kind things here and there.”
Initially, only staff could nominate students, but eventually the art class created a special box that anyone could submit someone else. They can remain anonymous when they do, but they have to give a reason why they chose that person.
Bailey has been choosing two students a week this year, as the box is perpetually full of suggestions. Once a student is chosen, they cannot be chosen again. About 60 students have been recognized so far this year for random acts of kindness.
“I think it’s encouraging, everyone needs some kindness in their lives and it’s just nice when you do kind things for others, and I want to spread the word about doing it. When we put it out there so many students stop by and look at it and read what other students are doing,” said Bailey. “I love it, it puts a smile on my face to see them standing their with the cool to be kind poster.”
When a student is chosen, their name and a brief description of what they did is hung on the wall in the main lobby where everyone can see. Recognition is all the students receive for an award, and the joy of being encouraged to do kindness. The most recent student to receive the award did not expect to get it.
“Well Ms. Polcyn thought I was kind because I like to help and teach other students how to do stuff. In English I walk around and help people on their English and homework, stuff like that,” said Felicity Matthew.
Mr. Houchens also nominated Matthew for her generosity during a recent food drive, when she contributed a large box of food. Bailey explained that Matthew’s look when she found out was pure surprise.
“I usually get that reaction from students. They’re surprised someone took the time to stand there and put their name down in the boxes and sometimes there are multiple that do that, and it makes them feel good about themselves,” said Bailey. “I feel like there are so many discouraging things we see in general, that when you see something like this it encourages you to be a better person and it encourages others to be better people. If they haven’t done something kind in awhile, it might encourage them to be a kind person to someone else. We always want to teach students humility and kindness, and it’s a step in that direction.”
Students and staff will continue to be nominated through the school year. According to Bailey, it’s always cool to be kind.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 74-446-2342 ext 2108.