Spreading love one Post-it at a timeGroup of anonymous students post encouraging notes to peers’ lockers
By Bryce Kelly, Mt. Pleasant News
An out-of-the-box act of kindness that positively changed the climate of Mt. Pleasant Middle School is now spurring more uplifting acts of leadership within students, and it all started with a thoughtful idea.
On the morning of Friday, Feb. 10, as students and staff filed into the halls of Mt. Pleasant Middle School to start their day, students were met with a pleasant surprise. Taped to each of their locker doors were personalized, handwritten encouragements addressed to each of them with phrases such as “you make a difference”, “believe in yourself” and “we’re glad you are part of this school”.
Most surprising of all, however, was that each note was handwritten by a group of just four middle school students who had an idea to help effect a positive shift in attitude at the school.
“I think our students were very shocked when they walked into school Friday,” said Mt. Pleasant Middle School principal, Nathan Lange, who granted the anonymous group permission to enter the school early to post the notes. “Everyone could feel how the mood of the halls was changed as the kids read each note.”
In addition to writing at least one compliment or phrase for every middle school student, the anonymous writers also composed notes and taped them to the doors of every teacher’s classroom. Approximately 500 sticky notes in total were composed prior to the group coming in at 6 a.m., on Friday morning to post them.
According to a letter written by the group, explaining their reasons for doing the project and their desire to remain anonymous, the idea came from a concept they learned through attending a church youth group.
Wanting to combat negative self-image or depressive thoughts that can often plague young students, the group wanted to remind students how “happy” they were to be students at the school, and wanted to thank their classmates and teachers “for being such good friends”.
“If you give a compliment, then you will receive one. That is the whole message behind these sticky notes,” an excerpt from the letter explained. “We hope that students read and pass these compliments on, and look farther than just the words. We hope that they receive the compliment that was placed on their door or locker, then give one and keep the chain going.”
And keeping the chain of kindness going is just what has transpired. According to Lange, many students that day took their notes off their lockers and taped them to their shirts or bags to wear throughout the rest of the day as badges of positivity, while others decided to pay it forward once again.
“We had a lot of students pass their notes along to other students who they knew really needed some extra encouragement that day. A few lockers were totally covered in sticky notes because the kids knew of a few particular students who were maybe having a rough week or who could just use a friendly reminder of how appreciated and loved they are by the rest of the school,” said Lange. “…Even the staff who got notes have told me how much just a little compliment from their students made a big impact on their whole day.”
Lange says since that Friday, the student body as a whole has started asking the teaching staff if they can do more things at the school like what was done with the sticky notes. He says the random act has most certainly struck a nerve with many of the middle school students and teachers alike.
“We have kids in this middle school who see needs and sometimes sad things happening around them, and they want to make a difference, but they just don’t always know how,” he said. “It’s exciting as a staff to see our kids who are now coming to us more and more because they have ideas of how to help the community or make the school better, and we want to facilitate that however we can.”