Kindness Week at Horizon Honors

Evelyn Streit and Jaidan Leonard

This week Horizon Honors is once again taking part in The Great Kindness Challenge, a simple, free, week-long challenge that students can participate in to help make their school a more safe and accepting learning environment.

According to abcNews, the Great Kindness Challenge was originally started by Jill McManigal, a mother from Carlsbad, CA. McManigal, her children, and some neighborhood friends first launched a non-profit organization called “Kids for Peace.” This group later helped to introduce the Great Kindness Challenge. McManigal tested the challenge out on three schools in her general area in 2012. Then in 2013, 263 schools took part in the challenge. Also, according to the California Department of Education, just last year over 10 million students in over 15,000 schools were impacted by the Great Kindness Challenge.

At Horizon Honors, kids are encouraged to complete a checklist of 50 random acts of kindness. Kindness Week is extremely beneficial for people who are having a rough day because they may be on the receiving end of a kind act, but also have the opportunity for a pizza party, depending on how many students in their math class are able to complete the checklist. Another fun addition to kindness week is spirit wear. Monday is tie-dye day, Tuesday is crazy hair and clothes day, Wednesday is pajama day, Thursday is colors of kindness day (each grade wears a different color), and Friday is wear your favorite kindness inspired t-shirt day. Below are some middle school students’ thoughts on the school’s kindness week and the Great Kindness Challenge.

The Horizon Sun: How has Horizon’s kindness week impacted you and others around you?

Aubrey Harbertson, seventh grader: Well, Horizon [Honors]’s kindness week has made our school a more inviting and welcoming place for the students to come to, especially for new students. It makes a big difference in how they think of our school. The kindness week just makes everyone more happy and uplifting. Everyone feels way more included than just a normal day at school.

Sofia Garcia, seventh grader: I will say that a lot more people have smiled. It’s just little things that I have noticed.

Miles Dieterle, seventh grader: I have [seen] a lot of doors being held open, and it is very nice. People are [also] complimenting me more often.

Aria Michels, eighth grader: I feel like a lot of us are really a lot more inspired to use our kindness sheets. It’s just useful to spread kindness.

The Sun: What is your favorite part of kindness week?

AH: My favorite part is when we get to do the art projects, because I am an artsy person, and I love when we get to do the cut out hearts with nice messages on them.

MD: The spirit week, because you are allowed to dress up and do things differently.


The Sun: How has the Great Kindness Challenge inspired you?

AH: It has inspired me to become a better person, and it makes me realize that this life isn’t just about me. There are other people in this world too, and we need to make them feel as good as anyone else. We need to be able to spread kindness everywhere so that everyone is happy.

SG: It definitely made me more aware of what I do. It makes me realize [all the acts of kindness] that I hadn’t done before, and it makes me want to do it again.

The Sun: Do you have any stories about random acts of kindness that you would like to share?

AH: When I was on student counsel, for random acts of kindness we took templates and hearts from first, second, third, and fourth grade to the elderly community center, and we were setting them out and it was great to see how much the people living there appreciated it. It was amazing to see the smiles on their faces.

SG: There have been many times where I’ve seen people leave money at the vending machine, [sometimes even] with a note saying, “enjoy a free soda.”

The Sun: What are some ways students can show kindness on and off campus?

AH: On campus you can do something as little as just smile at someone or just say “hi”. Maybe if you see a new student go talk to them, and make them feel included. Also, just do something like put a nice note in someone’s backpack or just something little like that. Then off campus you can send someone a text, you know, saying “I hope you’re having a great day.” Or you can even call your relatives because I bet they are missing you, and that might make their day.

SG: Probably reaching out to more people in need. There are so many people in this world who are less fortunate than us, so little things. Doing little things that help people out does so much more than it seems like it would.

The Sun: Do you think that after the Kindness Week is over that kids will still be kind?

Grace Jennings, seventh grader:  During kindness week, I realized that a lot of people, including myself, did a lot of these things anyway and were just now realizing it. I think that after kindness week people will continue with the little things, such as opening doors and saying good morning, out of common courtesy and habit.

As you can see, kindness is important and should be expressed every day. If you see someone that is down, be kind and cheer them up. Kindness is a great thing that everyone should express. Kindness Week helped us express our kindness in our clothes, words, and actions.

I encourage anyone, student or not, to take part in this inspirational challenge, because it costs you nothing to smile at someone as you walk past them in the hall, and yet it can make such a difference. Join Horizon Honors in helping make the world a better place today.