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#MSDKindness Message Continues to Grow at Washougal High School


Washougal, WA — Kindness matters at Washougal High School. That is the message being shared over two weeks in April during a student led effort to encourage acts of kindness.

Last month, Washougal Mayor Molly Coston proclaimed April as #MSDKindness Month, in recognition of the tragedy at Marjory Douglas High School. WHS senior, Bridgette McCarthy, who serves as a liaison to the City Council, helped spearhead the WHS project with members for the school’s Prevention Club and Unite! Washougal Coalition.

“We call ourselves Kindness Ambassadors,” said WHS senior Katie Boon, member of the Unite! WHS Prevention Club. “We are working to create an even more positive environment around school, especially with a focus on kindness. Being kind and looking for ways to show it are lessons the can be used throughout a lifetime.”

WHS freshman, Lauren Bennett, said the various planned activities to encourage kindness were developed during weeks of lunchtime meetings. “Involvement in the activities started slowly the first week, but after people saw what was going on more and more students have started to get involved,” she said.

Activities included distribution of free thank you cards, sending Smile Grams to friends and anyone needing to be cheered up, signing the Kindness Pledge and more.

A crowd favorite was the Compliment Battles which got started with WHS principal, Aaron Hansen pitted against WHS teacher Ryan Isaacson. Using portable microphones in front of a crowd of students in the commons, the two had a war of kind words. “I think it was Mr. Isaacson who actually told Mr. Hansen he had nice ears,” said Boon with a chuckle. Then students took up the battles, tossing quickfire compliments back and forth.

“The students were just shocked by it all,” Hansen said. “Once it got started you could see the students were really paying attention and there were a lot of smiles out there.” Hanson said Boon did an excellent job as the event MC and kept the crowd’s attention. “This has been a great student led project,” he added. “I really was impressed with the excellent job they did and with all the posters through the school too.”

On Friday, April 13, the activity was delivery of Smile Grams to classrooms. Freshman Zeke Mitchell-Hopmeier was surprised to receive a Smile Gram from non-other than his big brother, Elijah. “It makes you feel good and kind of happy that someone you know cares about you,” he said. “Maybe I should have sent him one too,” he added.

WHS Vice Principal, Sheree Clark, who has student discipline as a part of her duties, was delighted to receive a Smile Gram. “The majority of the kids are out there doing the right things,” she said. “We can get caught up in working with those kids who are in trouble and need us to work with them, so receiving this felt really good. In this world it is wonderful to be reminded to show kindness.”

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