Creating a Culture of Kindness

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Rocky Point High School’s Peer Networking Group worked with school social worker Jennifer Zaffino this fall to design an initiative aimed at promoting kindness and compassion within and beyond the walls of the school this year. 

Returning group members met in early September to create and promote an Up-Stander Declaration that speaks to behavior that the students wish to see in their lives – both at school and in the community. The pledge, which is mirrored after the “Day 1 Pledge,” focuses on treating others with respect, kindness and empathy. Members of the entire student body had the chance to learn about the initiative during a special morning announcement shared by group members and were invited to join the cause by becoming kindness ambassadors and signing a copy of the declaration this fall. 

“Our goal was for our school to come together and create a community of up-standers who say something when they see others being treated unfairly or reach out to help someone who may be struggling,” said senior Michael Sirico. 

“We felt this pledge was something that helped to set the tone for the year and was something that blinds the gray of negativity in the world and shows others that the number of people willing to help outweigh all the others,” added senior Elizabeth Castellucci. 

The school plans to celebrate those who display “up-standing” behaviors on the building’s new “Up-Standers Tree” completed last year by the life skills students who are enrolled in Robert Ciaccio’s technology course and the students in John Schumacher's Principals of Engineering class. The wooden sculpture features a number of leaves, which will each bear the names of those “caught being good.”