Shearer students participate in ‘Great Kindness Challenge’

For the past two weeks, students at Shearer Elementary School have celebrated the “Great Kindness Challenge.”

Kent Coogle, family resource center director at Shearer, said every student had an opportunity to participate in the challenge.

Coogle said he and Terri Tye, a counselor at Shearer, collaborated on the challenge.

“I first learned about the Great Kindness Challenge at the American School Counselor’s Association Conference in Los Angeles last summer,” Tye said.

The Great Kindness Challenge is a proactive bullying-prevention initiative aimed at challenging students to perform as many acts of goodwill and kindness as possible over the course of a week.

Coogle said this was the first year Shearer participated in the Great Kindness Challenge.

“We love that this program takes a positive and proactive approach to bullying prevention and that we were able to incorporate components that bridged students and their families to the school and our local agencies doing such good work,” he said.

During the challenge, students took home a Kindness Checklist of good deeds and were encouraged to check off their kind acts. Third- and fourth-graders received a checklist of 50 kind acts to prove that bullying is weak and kindness is strength. Kindergarten through second-grade students took home a “junior edition” checklist.

“We also had a ‘Caught Being Kind’ wall where students could write down kind acts of others they witnessed on heart-shaped Post-its and add them to the wall,” Coogle said. “The wall was my favorite part. By the end of the week, the display was covered in acts of kindness, large and small, that the students witnessed in each other. Students were huddled around the desk throughout the day. Kindness really became contagious.”

On Feb. 6, second- through fourth-graders went to Clark County Community Services after school.

“They were given a tour and volunteered time sorting clothes for CC’s Closet,” Coogle said.

Third-grader Christian Hennecke said he enjoyed volunteering with his dad during the trip to CCCS, and he hopes he made a difference.

“It’s the little things in life that help a lot of people,” Hennecke said.

As part of the challenge, students in classrooms made valentines to deliver to Rose Mary C. Brooks Place.

Coogle said students also had a kindness poster challenge, and the winners of that poster contest made a trip to Brooks Place to deliver the valentines to residents. Winners included third-grader Robbie Wills, kindergartener Oliver Harris, first-grader Bella Combs, second-grader Avery Dore, second-grader Ava Hall and fourth-grader Olivia Houston.

Fourth-grader Olivia Houston said she enjoyed her visit to Brooks Place.

“The biggest reward was the smiles on their faces,” she said.

First-grader Bella Combs said there was one special lady that made her day during her visit.

“My favorite part was taking the picture of Miss Polly (who had just turned 99),” Combs said.

Coogle said the Great Kindness Challenge inspired students to engage in acts of kindness and recognize the generosity exhibited by others.

“It allowed them to see that small acts can make a big difference,” he said. “We hope to teach good citizenship skills, and encourage students to care for their families, classmates, teachers and larger community.”