Creating an environment free of bullying. Students at two East Allen County Schools are getting national recognition for trying to do just that.
“It’s very bad to see someone getting bullied,” said New Haven Middle School 8th grader Bryson Hill. Hill wears a t-shirt that reads “Kindness is My Superpower” for a reason. “There was a kid being bullied and I just couldn’t stand it,” he said. “It bothered me so much that I couldn’t work so I went to the teacher and reported it. I just couldn’t bear the feeling of that that kid getting bullied. Now that student and I are friends and he’s not getting bullied anymore.”
Hill’s act of compassion is one of many that’s taken place at New Haven Middle School since it entered the national Middle School Kindness Challenge. The school created a video to enter the free online contest. It is sponsored by a group called Stand For Children that advocates for positive changes in public education.
Schools that enter commit to spread kindness for at least 30 days through positive messages and deeds and they document what they do. “Some days we gave a compliment to someone we normally wouldn’t talk to,” said 8th grader Mykasia Bostic.
On Tuesday, March 5, 2019 East Allen County students celebrated after learning both New Haven Middle and Southwick Elementary are among the top ten national finalists in the Kindness Challenge.
“We gave the students a challenge each day such as saying kind words on social media,” said New Haven Middle School Principal Chad Houser. “We had a number of different activities.”
“It was a kindness challenge for middle schools but they allowed elementary schools to participate,” said Southwick Elementary School Principal Diamond Robinson. “And for us to be a finalist is just amazing.”
As finalists, both Southwick and New Haven Middle each received one thousand dollar donations to use for educational tools that encourage kindness. On March 15 one national grand prize winner will receive an additional $4,000.
“What stood out to me about New Haven and Southwick was it really seemed like their school cultures were transformed,” said Daniel O’Donnell, Middle School Kindness Challenge Director. “That’s the impression I got after talking with the principals and students. The schools flipped the script so all of a sudden it is now cool to be kind.”
The honor comes at a time when New Haven Middle, the home of the bulldogs, is celebrating its last year in its current building. It will be demolished and the middle school will become part of the New Haven High School campus.
“I think the school being torn down is bitter in itself but to go out with a bang is just so nice,” said Bostic. “If we can just spread positivity the world would be such a better place.”
More information about the contest is located on The Middle School Kindness Challenge website.