“Throw kindness around like confetti.”
This message is displayed prominently in the bright, welcoming halls of the Lower School building this month. Throughout the year, students have been challenged to “make the world a better place.” Projects like Pinwheels for Peace, December’s Advent Challenge, and partnerships with local organizations, such as Melrose School and the Volunteers of America Laundry Center, have encouraged our Lower School students to spread joy and kindness not only into the Episcopal community, but into their own homes and the local community as well.
Some of our smallest Knights took on a big task this month. On the 100th day of school, the PreK-4 classes were challenged to collectively complete 100 acts of kindness by Valentine’s Day. Parents assisted by capturing these moments in photographs and e-mailing stories to the teachers. In just two weeks, the students not only met their goal, but exceeded it, with 104 acts of kindness reported.
No act of kindness was considered too small. From folding towels and hanging up their clothes, to cleaning up their rooms, kindness was spread throughout the students homes. Many students shared their Mardi Gras spoils with others. Ace Williams even gave away his coveted Zulu coconut to a stranger “just because.” The kindness spread into the classroom as well. Students stopped to pick up things their classmates had dropped, offered them hugs of encouragement and picked up litter that was left behind.
The overall response from parents, students and faculty has been positive. Chelsie Smith, mother of Mazie (’31) writes, “This has been the sweetest month of her learning about kindness. She is so into it and eager to 'do kindness' all the time!” Without even thinking about recognition, this kindness becomes an everyday part of who our students are. Just like a single spark can ignite a fire, it only takes a simple act of kindness, to make the world a better place.
Julie Mendes, a 2001 graduate of Episcopal, returned to teach Pre-K4 at her alma mater in 2012. She received both her undergraduate degree and MEd in elementary education at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. After teaching second grade in a Dual Language program in Texas public schools for three years, Julie moved abroad to teach first grade at a bilingual school in Gracias, Lempira Honduras. Julie enjoys teaching alongside some of her former teachers and seeing what life is like on the other side of the desk.