A chain of kindness, created by students at the Superior School District’s six elementary schools, circled the community events hallway at Superior Middle School Wednesday, Feb. 24. The paper chain looped around the space twice, each link bearing a message of kindness.
“It’s cool to be kind.”
“Keep trying, don’t give up. When you don’t give up, you get better and better.”
“Help someone. Pick something up.”
Bryant Elementary School first grader Blake Kaspar walked next to the chain, looking for his contribution. The 7-year-old decorated half a dozen links with smiley faces, hearts and rainbows.
“They show love and respect,” he said. “It reminds people to care about one another.”
Sixth graders Gabby Rusk and Lexi Kaspar walked with Blake. For them, the chain brought back memories of a similar class project when they were third graders at Bryant. The two aren’t sure what words of kindness they penned, but it made an impact they remember to this day.
“It felt good to write those kind of messages,” Rusk said.
The two said they’d like to see a similar initiative at the middle school.
The district’s United in Kindness Chain project kicked off at the end of January. Each elementary school student was given a sheet of paper with six strips on it and asked to decorate them with messages of kindness. The sheets were sent home and put in electronic newsletters. Some were decorated during class time. A drop off bin at each school allowed both virtual and hybrid students to take part.
Wednesday morning, LeAnn Egnash, Bryant and SMS family engagement coordinator, pulled chains from each school out of bags and connected them. When they were in the back of her vehicle, she expected the linked messages to circle the space once. Instead, they lapped the area twice.
“It was like ‘Mary Poppins.’ It just kept coming,” Egnash said.
February was kindness month at schools throughout the district.
“The kids love it, focusing on the positive,” said Northern Lights Elementary School Principal Danielle Perich.
At Four Corners Elementary School, the paper chain project was the culmination of a month-long celebration of kindness that included essays, songs and videos on the subject.
Students took on the task with enthusiasm, said Four Corners school counselor Rachael Larson.
“They were excited to do something that was bigger than just their class,” she said. “Because with COVID they’re kind of in their little classes more than usual, they don’t get as much exposure to even the other kids in the school … And they were really pumped about that idea of connecting all the kids in Superior with the kindness idea.”
Larson asked the students what the community would be like if people took these messages to heart.
“‘Oh, my gosh, it would be such a great place to work, to live!’ It was kind of fun to connect the dots that way,” Larson said.
The chain of kindness will be on display at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Hospital-Superior.