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The Message Behind the Cards

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BLAINE HIGH SCHOOL On the morning of Thursday, May 11, students walked into Blaine to find a surprise: cards with positive, encouraging messages were taped onto every single locker and on the doors of classrooms.

The leader of this project called “Kindness Cards” is senior Stephanie Chhaturam. She said, “I wanted the cards to be a spontaneous act of kindness for all students.”

“Kindness Cards” is her NHS senior leadership project. “Most seniors in NHS organize a food or clothing drive. But drives occur almost every week, so they aren’t able to get enough donations.” Chhaturam wanted to do something different.

Chhaturam is a part of a group at BHS called the “Kindness Ambassadors.” The group was created by Assistant Principal Ms. Brady after she received a video recording caught by one of the school’s hallway surveillance cameras. It showed a teacher trip and fall to the ground because the heel of her boot broke off. Not a single student around her asked if she was okay or offered to help: they all ignored her.

“It has become a selfish society: there is a huge lack of caring for other people. People now only care about how many likes they got,” said Brady, “It’s gotten scary.”

After seeing the video, Brady asked teachers to nominate students who are who are exceptionally caring and kind to become a part of her new group: “Kindness Ambassadors.”

In March, Stephanie Chhaturam began planning her project with the help of Mrs. Pohl and the members of “Kindness Ambassadors.”

“Random acts of kindness are often ignored, taken for granted or even taken offensively,” said Chhaturam, and she hoped to change that with her project “Kindness Cards.”

Although the idea was simple, to create a small card for every student in the school, carrying it out took a lot of work.

To create the massive amount of cards, it took 4 “Kindness Ambassadors” sessions before school, two sessions after school, of nonstop card making. The “Kindness Ambassadors” also asked their friends and classmates who could quickly fill out a few cards during school in PAWS, or in classes like painting and drawing.

The night before May 11, a group of student volunteers took three hours to hang up thousands of cards up in the entire school. “We were still making cards during setup to make sure there was enough,” says Chhaturam.

Chhaturam also had another painstaking task to do besides the card making, which was filtering through the stacks of cards. “I had to look through every single card to make sure there were no inappropriate messages,” she said.

Before the cards were ready to be left as a gift for the students, Chhaturam had to first make arrangements with the janitors to make sure they would clean up the cards left on the floor by the students. “We anticipated that some students would have a negative reaction to the project,” she said.

Sophomore Caleb Bartels witnessed this happening the day the cards were posted on the lockers. “I saw a lot of people ripping the cards off their lockers and throwing them on the floor. It made me angry that they were trashing the school and disregarding our hard work.”

A pile of ‘Kindness Cards” left on the floor of the South Commons (Photo taken by Author).

Some students thought that the “Kindness Cards” project was related to HOSA’s “1300 Reasons for Tomorrow” project in an effort to prevent teen suicide and raise mental illness awareness. Chhaturam wants to make it clear that it the two projects are unrelated, and that it was a coincidence that both projects occurred at the same time.

Chhaturam said, “The students put too much emphasis on finding a deeper meaning behind the cards, rather than viewing it as a simple gift of kindness to brighten the day.” She wanted the project to be viewed as “spontaneous,” just like any random act of kindness.

Ms. Brady was monitoring the halls the morning that the cards were posted. “I expected that the cards would be torn off and that they would be all on the floor, and students would be mocking the cards,” she said. Instead, she witnessed a very different reaction from the students: “But it was the exact opposite. I heard no negative comments, and the students loved the cards. They taped the cards to themselves, to their binders, books, they kept the cards on their lockers for the whole day,” Brady explained.

She thought that “Kindness Cards” was very successful at changing the attitude of the students, and helping spread kindness at Blaine. Ms. Brady says, “The mood of the students had changed to a very positive one.”

“Kindness Cards” posted on lockers in the North Commons (Photo taken by Author).

 

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The Message Behind the Cards