At D.C. Everest Middle School in Wisconsin, each student was greeted in the morning with a handwritten sticky note that contained a message such as “Just be you! No one can change who you are”; “Stay positive today”; “You look great.” It was the first day of the second semester, and the idea was to saturate the school with affirmations to give a mood boost to all 840 or so students and create an atmosphere that discourages bullying.
Seventh-grader Magic Vang, 12, said he was a little nervous going to school Wednesday because he started new classes on a different schedule with the turnover of semesters. But then he saw the note on his locker, and it “told me to stay positive, even if things go wrong,” he said. “It just really brightened up my day. … It just made my mind a bit more relieved than worried.”
Students in the school’s Student Council, Junior Optimists and Stand Up Against Bullies groups wrote the notes. No one can really measure the impact of the cheerful messages, but if Magic’s reaction is multiplied by hundreds, the simple project could have meaningful and long-term results.
“I think it’s one piece to a whole bunch of things we’re doing to make this a positive environment,” said Casey Nye, D.C. Everest Middle School principal. “It’s about establishing a culture in the long run.”
Nye said seventh-grade science teacher Scott Schaefer took the idea for the notes from a blog post on an education website called Edutopia.org. The post outlined how two middle-schoolers from Sioux Falls, S.D., did the same thing.Those students got the idea from another girl who posted sticky notes that read “You’re beautiful” on every locker in her middle school.
Dallas Rennie, Junior Optimist club adviser and family and consumer education teacher, said those hundreds of simple messages likely won’t resonate with everyone. But there is power in the idea of connection, she said.
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