Last fall, the Kindness Club at Bernotas Middle School noticed that their school celebrated Respect Week, but there wasn’t a week dedicated to kindness. So, 8th graders Olivia Craigen and Nola Neilson, along with their Kindness Club, began planning a Kindness Spirit Week for the week of February 13-17. Olivia states, “I brought up the idea of having a Kindness Week so we could pay our respects to being kind to one another.”
Olivia and Nola collaborated with staff, principals, the district, and other clubs on several different components for their Kindness Week. Nola was in charge of spreading the word and putting up posters around the school, while Olivia came up with the idea to incorporate Kindness Week into the school day. She said, “Once I had the idea of doing a Kindness Week, I worked with the club on gathering feedback for how we would coordinate the spirit days with lessons in XLT.” There was a spirit day and an XLT activity or lesson for each day of the week. For instance, Monday, February 13th, students wore kindness shirts and engaged in the Love Grows activity during XLT. The Love Grows activity had students commit to one act of kindness by writing it down and adding it to a Kindness tree posted in each grade’s hallway. Nola said, “We wanted this week to remind students that we can and should continue to work on spreading kindness.”
The Student Council was originally going to have a spirit week for Valentine’s Day, but the Kindness Club worked alongside the Student Council to find a happy medium between Valentine’s Day and Kindness Week. The Art Club and Anime Club also helped build the Kindness trees around the school.
On Wednesday, February 15th, the Kindness Club hosted a free movie night at Bernotas for all students and their families. The movie Wonder, a PG movie based on the true story from the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio, was the featured movie of the night. The film sends a powerful message of perseverance, resiliency, and kindness. Olivia said, “Although it’s a movie some people have seen, I don’t think they have ever thought about how powerful acts of kindness can be. Hopefully, this movie will serve as a reminder that kindness is cool and bullying isn’t.”