Being kind, just paying off for East St. John students
By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / January 21, 1998
RESERVE – Students at East St. John High School are performing randomacts of kindness for friends, family and classmates and standing up forwhat they believe in.
These acts are in conjunction with the Kindness and Justice Challengestudents are participating in to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.’sbirthday.
“Schools all across the country are competing,” Sara Ashton, Englishteacher, said. “It’s an attempt to get students to do as many acts ofkindness or justice as they can.”
An act of kindness would include helping mom with the dishes or littlesister with her homework.”An act of justice would be standing up to what you believe in,” Ashtonsaid.
Justin Naquin, 16, believes it’s important to stand up for what youbelieve in. “If you don’t you will get walked all over,” he said.
The contest is a way for students to learn more about Martin Luther KingJr. and what he was trying to accomplish.
“I think kindness and justice are the virtues that Martin Luther Kingbelieved in and strove for,” Ashton said.
This is the first year the contest has been implemented at East St. John,but Ashton said nationally the program has been going on for about threeyears.
Ashton said students perform an act then fill out a form explaining whatthey did and how they felt during and after. The form is dropped in a box inthe front office, and every afternoon a form is drawn. That student gets aprize.
Ashton said prizes include T-shirts, pizza, CD discounts and other prizesfrom local businesses.There are also national prizes for the schools who have the most studentparticipation.
“Nationally you can get a free computer for your school or even a $500grant,” Ashton said.
So far, about 300 acts have been turned in by about 200 differentstudents, Ashton said.
“It’s tough to get all of the students involved because it’s such a bigschool,” Ashton said. “But a lot of students have become involved.””It gets the students to realize that they do a lot of positive things theymay not realize they are doing,” she added. “It makes them feel good.”
Participating students agree.”It makes me feel good inside to help someone out,” Orlando Sanders, 17,said.
One of Sanders’ acts was talking a friend out of a fight with his girlfriend.”I calmed him down and told him that wasn’t right,” he said.So far, Sanders has turned in about five acts of kindness and justice.
“I believe you should be kind,” LaTasha Gaines, 15, said. “I helped mylittle sister, my teachers and even gave my notebook to someone.”
Ashton decided to delve into the project even more by offering incentivesto students in her classes who participate.She said students who perform 15 acts within the two weeks the programlasts get a soft drink, and if they do 30 acts they will get a McDonald’sbreakfast.
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