NEWINGTON - Kindness is not something the Newington High School community takes lightly. In fact, the school is dedicating an entire week to celebrating the virtue at the end of this month.
Between Monday, Feb. 26, and Friday, March 2, students and faculty will be dressing up, singing songs, giving gifts and being extra nice to each other.
“It’s just everyone coming together to promote kindness and we hope it can be sustained for more than just one week,” Principal Terra Tigno explained. “We want to make it a part of everyday life.”
Monday people will be rocking their sweats, because “Caring for others is no sweat.” On Friday the school will “blackout negativity” with all-black attire. And every day in between features a different dress code.
Post-It notes with positive affirmations will be scattered throughout the school building for all to see, courtesy of the junior class. Each student will receive five blank notes, on which to write motivating statements to place around the building. “You are worthy” on the bathroom mirror? “Treat yourself” in the cafeteria? Sure.
The freshman class is distributing notes with kind acts around homerooms. People will be asked to do things like “Buy someone lunch today” or “Hold the door at least five times.” The idea is for the notes to circulate, with tallies taken to indicate how many times an act has been accomplished.
Student Council members are posting their own challenges, like sitting with someone new at lunch, helping a struggling peer or writing a thank-you note to a custodian, hall monitor or secretary. Completed challenge cards will be collected and winners will be drawn at the week’s end.
“This is based on the honors system,” Council President Lukas Houle pointed out. “We won’t know if you actually completed your kind challenge, but if you have to fake being kind you’ve forgotten what this week is all about.”
Houle told fellow students this in a short video the council made. It will be screened in all homerooms, along with other groups’ videos. An extended homeroom will take place all five days that week.
Sophomores hope to inspire enthusiasm by giving out Smarties candy with the message “It’s smart to be kind!” attached. Each student will receive one.
With a donation of over 1,000 rocks from Cedar Mountain Stone & Mulch, the senior class will make kindness trickle down through the school district. Students will decorate the rocks with positive sayings and drawings before they are collected and scattered outdoors around the elementary and middle schools. Seniors’ motto: “Kindness rocks.”
The National Honor Society is asking students to recognize acts of kindness done to them by filling buckets with their written tales. The contents of each homeroom’s bucket will be emptied and read aloud at the week’s end.
Career Services is making it easy for people to give more compliments, especially to those with whom they don’t normally interact. Compliment cards will be posted on a bulletin board for all to see.
According to Houle, NHS is already a pretty nice place to be.
“From my perspective we’re a lot kinder than other schools,” he said. “It’s just who we are.”
Practicing this trait takes work, he added, especially for teens.
“I think kindness is always a struggle in high school,” Houle said. “You’re trying to get to know yourself and sometimes you’re not mature enough to know to be kind to other people.”
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.