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Faith Elementary observes World Kindness Day

By Maggie Blackwell
For the Salisbury Post

Students at Faith Elementary School observed World Kindness Day on Wednesday by wearing mismatched shoes to symbolize walking in someone else’s shoes.

The school has been improving its character education at large this year, according to first-grade teacher Deona Doby.

Students in Ashley Agner’s fifth-grade class studied and presented stories of children who made big changes by being kind. Stories included Mary Grace Henry, a 12-year-old who made hair accessories and sold them in her school’s book store to raise money to donate to people in extreme poverty in Kenya and Uganda; Alana Wall, a 10-year-old who does “glitzy” nails for special-needs girls; Hailey Fort, a 9-year-old who built homeless shelters and grew more than 250 pounds of food for the homeless. She was inspired by seeing a homeless man at age five.

Trinity Parker is a fourth-grader at the school. She wore mismatched shoes and thinks her school is very compassionate. She referred to their annual Veterans’ Day breakfast as an example.

“Say, if there was a boy, you don’t know what their life is like because you’re not wearing their shoes. If you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you can understand their life,” she said.

Trinity said she learned compassion from her parents and from her teachers. She said she wants the world to know, “If you ever see someone sad, be compassionate; the time to be compassionate is when you see someone down.”

Madison Trexler participated as well. Her group in Mrs. Agner’s class reported on Christian McPhilamy, a boy who saw a commercial from St. Jude’s hospital about kids with cancer and was inspired to grow his hair long to provide a wig for them. He was teased and bullied but kept growing his hair for two years.

“I think it’s important to do things for others,” she said, “because people can be going through a hard time, like being depressed, and you can be nice to them and be friends with them.”

First-grade teachers this year have helped their students be kind to one another with the “Fill the Buckets” program. Each of the teachers has a bulletin board with 3D buckets bearing each student’s name. Every day, students get the opportunity to write something nice for another student and place the note in his bucket. Teachers monitor the buckets to ensure each student receives a kind statement.

Doby said, “We encourage them to choose a different student every day, not just their best friends.”

The teachers said the students look forward to seeing their buckets every morning. It starts the day on a positive note.

“I think it’s made my class come closer because of the notes,” first grade teacher Kelly Reinholz said. “They weren’t very close at the first of the year.”

Doby added, “It’s helped them become mindful of what they say.”

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