Article by CFMS Tiger Tales reporters Olivia Horvath and Lilia Cowan
On September 19 through 23, students at Chagrin Falls Middle School participated in Start With Hello Week. The main goal was to connect students of different backgrounds and promote inclusivity in the school.
Start with Hello is a program started by the Sandy Hook Promise. The Sandy Hook Promise is a non-profit organization founded in 2013, led by several families who lost their loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary school due to a shooting. This non-profit uses its programs to promote safe school environments and prevent kids from ever hurting themselves or others by encouraging students to reach out to their peers. The goal of Start with Hello week was to raise awareness of social isolation in schools and help everyone feel seen and appreciated. There are currently more than 8 million students and teachers participating in this program.
During the course of the week, students participated in many activities with the objective of connecting with their peers.
On Monday, students got to draw positive messages on the sidewalk in front of the school. The activity allowed kids to use their art skills to spread positivity. “It was cool to have the positive drawings be the first thing I saw when walking into school,” said 7th-grade student Mackenzie Huckabey.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the 8th and 7th graders got to walk around the high school track during their advisory period. Students were put into different groups and each talked to a new person after every lap around the track. They used the time to talk with their friends, get to know different kids, and enjoy a break. After participating in the Walk and Talk, 8th grader Brigitte Edwards said, ”I liked talking with my friends and people I didn’t know very well. It was a fun way to socialize.” Students and staff also wore green on Wednesday to show their support of Start with Hello Week.
On Thursday, the students wore all their favorites to school. This included sports teams, musicians, and more! It helped students start conversations and connect with one another. “It was so fun being able to see everyone’s different interests and how similar we are,” said 7th grader Peyton Pruce. “I had a great time and got to meet many new people and learn about their interests.” Everyone had a great time and got to make some new friends.
Even though these activities only lasted a week, the impact they had will be long-lasting. Start with Hello week taught students the importance of stepping out of their comfort zone and that no kindness goes unnoticed.
For more photos, visit the Tiger Tales story at https://cfevstigertales.com/2593/news/start-with-hello-how-you-can-make-a-difference/