With November sweeping in and bringing an increase in homework and tests, the SIS student body as a whole struggled with balancing sleep, stress, and summatives. But one group of students stood out from the rest: the seniors. With just two weeks left until the deadline for college apps, it was widely understood that the seniors were under the most duress within the school.
With their plight in mind, Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) decided to hold an event called “Save Our Seniors” to bring a little spark of cheer and optimism to the stressed upperclassmen. RAK is a first-year club at SIS dedicated to hosting mostly school-related events that promote a sense of community, compassion, and school spirit. From passing out free candy for Halloween to decorating the hallways during holiday season, RAK strove to create an environment of happiness and optimism around the school.
For this particular event, the club decided to enlist the help of the entire student body by urging them to come to the atrium or the counseling office and write a short message of support and encouragement to the seniors. Although it was difficult for most of the younger students to empathize with the stress the seniors were feeling, it didn’t stop them from coming in to the office with their friends and fulfilling their small mission.
“I think the event itself was very meaningful because not only could we write a message directed toward all seniors, but we could also write personalized messages for specific seniors,” said Lynette Kim (10). “Although the event itself was a little cheesy, it allowed underclassmen to express their support for the seniors without directly going up to them and saying it. It was just a fun and creative way of thanking them for everything they have done for the school and encouraging them to push ahead for just a few more weeks.
Along with the boards the post-its were taped to, RAK executive members set up a table containing sweets and tea for the seniors exclusively. Seniors stopped by the table in between classes to grab candy canes, tea bags, and chocolate. Additionally, post-its and pens were provided on the same table, allowing students to write any additional messages they forgot to submit earlier.
“In setting up the Garden of Gratitude, we first organized the distribution of the cards via an online form,” said Eddie Ko (11), an executive member of RAK. “We delivered these cards to the teachers who volunteered to participate, who then had their students fill out the cards with what they were grateful for. Once we collected the cards, we began assembly in the atrium, which took two hours.”
Contrary to the low amount of attention the event garnered at the beginning, students became more and more interested in the booth as time went on, adding to its success. For instance, students walking through the atrium as a shortcut to get to their classes would stop halfway across to write a quick note and tape it onto the board, then continue along to their classes as if it was just an everyday occurrence. On several occasions, there were large groups of seniors huddled around the board, laughing and talking as they read aloud messages they thought were interesting or funny.
“I think this project allowed everyone to realize the power of short, seemingly meaningless words of encouragement,” Jeffrey Heo (12) said. “Messages such as ‘You can do it’ or ‘You’re almost at your final destination’ shed a light of positivity onto my everyday life and made me feel grateful about the people around me.”