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Bloomingdale High School students understand that a few kind words can make a huge impact on a student’s life.
“You’re so pretty!”
“I love your outfit!”
After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, members of Student Government wanted to unite against school violence. They organized “Positivity Week” and encouraged classmates to engage with one another and promote a safe and secure school environment.
“The idea behind this week is basically just to bring in a lot of positivity, due to a lot of the recent things that have been happening in schools, we just want to have positive impacts, and just doing what we can to make people feel safer or like you can depend on your classmates,” said Bloomingdale High School Senior Haley Lazzara.
The SGA sponsored: High-Five Monday, Team Kindness Tuesday, Maroon Wednesday, Compliment Thursday and Fist Bump Friday.
“The people I talk to every day, I obviously give them compliments, but this is more for people that I probably wouldn’t talk to every other day, but today is just a great day to reach out to people that you usually wouldn’t,” said Jalen Frett, Bloomingdale High School senior.
“Having students being able to see each other for the first time, engage with each other for the first time, face-to-face, having students who are looking down, look up and notice one another,” said teacher and student government sponsor, Amanda Lafoe.
Students also raised money for Marjory Stoneman Douglas by selling shirts through Acclaim Imprintables. The company’s writing one large check from all of the Student Government groups within Hillsborough County Public Schools to benefit the South Florida school.
“Throughout the entire week, we’ve been selling Stoneman Douglas t-shirts. After what happened, everyone was affected. Coming into school the next day, you could tell there was high tension, and you could tell something needed to be done. We all want to feel safe, and we want to make sure that Stonemen Douglas understands that we are here with them. It’s just a shame that it had to happen, but we’re going to make a difference,” said Bloomingdale High School Senior Ashley Russell.
The district-wide Student Government meeting earlier in the month inspired Positivity Week at Bloomingdale, which led up to the student-organized March for Our Lives event in Tampa.
“I find that a lot of times, people just walk in the hallways and look the other way. I’ve been making it my mission to reach out and say hi to people in the hallways more than I usually do, just so people feel welcome and comfortable, and make them feel better about themselves, and better about the community they’re in and the school they go to every day,” said Lazzara.
“We’re trying to build trust amongst our students. Letting the students build trust with their teachers and faculty members, I think that’s what’s happened recently. Students questioning, well, what would you do for me? Hopefully they know we’ve always been there for you, and we’ll continue to be there for you,” said Lafoe.
Students vow they’ll continue to support and compliment one another – long after Positivity Week is over.
“I hope that it carries on to the rest of the school year, maybe the next couple of years that it’s okay to just say, ‘You look good today’ or ‘Thank you,’” said Frett.
“I hope that Positivity Week sets a precedent that we are here together. If you have a problem, you need to talk to somebody and know you are not alone,” said Russell. “Change is in yourself. So, if you want to make a positive difference, you have to start with being positive yourself.”
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