Schools hold assemblies, contests to focus on kindness

'Great Kindness Challenge' extended because of weather
Feb 18, 2015
Courtesy of: Amy Sanfilippo Cushing Community School kindergarteners enjoy a visit from Hilary the dog and handler Grace (out of frame on left) from the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County during the Great Kindness Challenge. From upper left are Abby Stackpole, Landin White, Audrey Robinson, Dylan Poland, Connor Lane, Devin Stinson, and Gavin Blanchard at rear.

Lura Libby School and Cushing Community School participated in the Great Kindness Challenge for the second year in a row. The event was scheduled for the week of Jan. 26, but, due to an unusual number of snow days during that week and the week after, both schools decided to continue it through Feb. 13.

As part of The Great Kindness Challenge week, the two schools decided to support the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County. Friday, Jan. 23, Grace from animal shelter came to talk with Lura Libby School students at a schoolwide assembly. She went to Cushing Community School Thursday, Feb. 12, and visited individual classrooms. A list of items that are needed at the animal shelter went home with students. There were collection baskets in the schools for donated items.

Jan. 26, both schools had assemblies that focused on kindness and bullying prevention. Mr. Andrew from Mid-Coast Martial Arts made a presentation, along with some assistants. He discussed the types of bullying and shared strategies with the students for dealing with bullies. He also shared some power phrases for students to use in communicating with a bully. He focused on the importance of treating others with kindness and respect.

Also Jan. 26, Lura Libby School began a "Bucket Filling Campaign" where each student had a bucket with their name on it on display outside their classroom. Students and staff filled students' buckets by filling out paper raindrops with kind comments about that student. Students were excited to read the kind things that other members of the school community had to say about them.


Both schools began giving Caught Being Kind tickets out to students during the Great Kindness Challenge last school year. They then decided to continue those tickets throughout the school year. When students are "caught" going above and beyond being kind, they are given a Caught Being Kind ticket.

This year the schools started announcing the names of all students who got a ticket that day on the announcements at the end of the day. A new award was created to honor the student who received the most tickets during the month. At the monthly school-wide assembly, all students who received a ticket that month have their names called and stand individually to be recognized. The student with the most tickets for that month is called to the front of the assembly to receive an award and a round of applause from the school community for this accomplishment.

Part of the schools' focus on kindness includes monthly Kindness Counts Awards. To make the awards even more meaningful for students, the schools, which share a principal, instituted a Lunch with the Principal, Ainslee Riley, for students who win the Kindness Counts Award, which is given to students who exemplify kindness on a daily basis.

Other events occurred in individual classrooms and schoolwide to celebrate the Great Kindness Challenge week, which turned into three weeks because of the continued snow. The fact that the Great Kindness Challenge is over does not mean that these positive behaviors stop. At Cushing Community School and Lura Libby School, students and staff are working to continue the theme of kindness throughout the school year.

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