Hoover schools mark Week of Kindness

HOOVER – Hoover City Schools’ Week of Kindness is catching on in its second year of fighting against bullying by creating a culture of kindness.

Schools across the district marked the week, from Feb. 25 to March 1, with notes of encouragement, acts of kindness and more.

Part of the Week of Kindness was National Pink Shirt Day on Wednesday, Feb. 27, when students, faculty and staff were encouraged to wear pink, said Casey Cain, intervention counselor at Spain Park High School.

“I’ve seen a lot of pink today, so I think everyone is catching on,” Cain said and added that 10-15 school organizations signed up this year to greet classmates as they arrived at school. “We’re seeing more and more of the different groups and clubs that are participating.”

At Spain Park High School, Monday, Feb. 25, was “Hey Day,” with students wearing name tags and stopping each other just to say hello.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, first period teachers posted positive sticky notes on students’ desks for them to find when they arrived.

In addition to National Pink Shirt Day, SPHS also encouraged students to “Mix It Up at Lunch” on Feb. 27 by finding a different seat than usual so they could sit with someone new.

The next day, Thursday, Feb. 28, first period teachers handed out pink suckers to students, who could also choose a sticky note from the “Kindness Confetti Wall” in the lunchroom and surprise someone with kindness.

Friday, March 1, was Spirit Day with students and staff dressing in school colors to celebrate the Spain Park family.

Week of Kindness is intended to cultivate a culture of caring and kindness, which research shows is an effective approach to mitigate bullying, Berry Middle School Counselor Cathy Hartwiger said.

Berry students also had a week full of activities to facilitate kindness. They were issued a Kindness Challenge, in which students were tasked with doing something kind for someone they knew, someone they did not know and themselves.

“All of these things promote happiness and goodwill and other positive emotions,” Hartwiger said.

The BMS Peer Helpers group distributed heart-shaped sticky notes, and the school’s 1,250 students were asked to jot down a positive message. The notes were then posted to a large bulletin board with the school’s theme for the week: “Changing the World with Kindness.”

The messages included “Slay all day,” “Rock your world” and “We love having you at Berry every day.”

A handful of students—Zainab Perkaoui, Evyn Williams, Libby Baty, Sage Sovic, Tatum Ahlemeyer, Olivia Williams and Grace Trewhella—had the idea to post such notes on teachers’ vehicles, so they worked to make notes for every vehicle in the parking lot.

“They didn’t know who did it, so a lot of teachers have been emailing saying it was awesome,” Hartwiger said.

Seventh graders Emma Hawkins, Sam Lin and Evyn Williams said they can see Week of Kindness activities making a difference at their school.

“A lot of my friends were encouraged by the hearts,” Hawkins said.

“It gives everybody a chance to be part of something that can change the school,” Williams added.

“I hope it continues for a long time,” Lin concluded.