Greystone Elementary celebrates Week of Kindness

HOOVER – Hoover City Schools celebrated a Week of Kindness beginning Feb. 26, and Greystone Elementary was among the schools where students demonstrated a commitment to being kind.

Counselor Kristin Amos led the school’s effort, which at middle and high schools was intended to combat bullying.

“Our focus really at the elementary level is more about being kind,” Amos said. “It creates the conversation about, ‘What is it to be kind?’ I thought a kindness exchange would give them the opportunity to see that.”

Classes chose or drew another class for which to perform acts of kindness.

Many students created cards or other items for their “Book Buddies,” which are students from another grade they are paired with for reading exercises.

Mason Palmer, a first grader, said he created a card for his fifth grade reading partner and also helped his class decorate a wall with the theme “Throw kindness like confetti.”

Students also took on kindness projects for their teachers, such as creating videos and posters that highlighted things they like about the teachers.

Colt Baker and Avery Buczek were among the students who made a poster for their teacher, Shay Higginbotham.

“We took pictures in guidance class and wrote something we like about our teacher,” Baker said.

GES Principal Stacey Stocks said teachers appreciated the gestures.

“A lot of the teachers were so moved because it was from the heart,” Stocks said. “They got to see their teachers’ reaction, and then the lesson is, ‘See what kindness does? It makes people who you care about happy.’”

All Hoover City Schools and departments had site-specific activities designed to cultivate a culture of caring and kindness, which research shows is an effective approach to stop bullying in all environments.

On Feb. 28, National Pink Shirt Day, stakeholders were encouraged to practice kindness and wear pink to stand up with HCS against bullying.

School officials said they hope Week of Kindness becomes a community-led effort that will be in place for years to come.

Greystone Elementary focuses on one core value a month, Stocks said, so kindness was the value for February to coincide with Week of Kindness.

One student is recognized each month for displaying the value being encouraged.

For Kindness Week, students wore pink T-shirts that read, “You can sit with us.”

“They typically do pretty well showing kindness, but it’s always good to have it out in front of them,” Stocks said about the students, many of whom were visibly excited about the effort.

“This is my favorite day of the whole year,” second grader Lilly Ann Feathers told Stocks while walking down a hallway. “I love being kind.”