Students at Lennard High in Ruskin believe they’re stronger as a school when they’re united. They took to the track during their lunch hour to promote positivity during the student-organized “Kindness Walk” that they also called “Good Citizenship Day."
“This started when a student came to my office and asked me if we could have a Citizenship Walk or Kindness Walk here at Lennard High School on the day where other students in the nation were walking out. She wanted to turn this day into something very positive for our students,” said Lennard High School Principal Denise Savino.
Student Courtney Wilkerson spearheaded Good Citizenship Day. She asked local organizations like Community Cupboard food pantry, Angel Attic Thrift Store and Mary & Martha House that provides support to domestic violence victims to attend and talk with students about how they can make a difference in the community.
“My goal was to get students involved in their communities. I wanted them to see how many opportunities there are to do good in this world. We wanted to get them registered to vote, so that wherever they lie on this political spectrum, they can make their voices heard,” said Wilkerson.
Student organizations also had booths set up. At the JROTC table, participants could write kind words on sticky notes to hand out to classmates.
“Two other students came to me and asked if they could show me a video that they produced to promote school unity and to promote kindness to others. The students will be seeing a video that our students produced with their song,” Principal Savino said.
Lennard students, brother and sister Avion and Tionna Whyte, wrote the song called “Spreading the Love” and produced a music video, along with the school’s television production crew, that students watched in their classrooms before the walk. The video features Longhorns showing kindness to one another.
“We wanted to do this video to spread love to all of our peers, friends and family. We believe that stopping the violence starts with us. I believe that if we all stand together, we can stop the violence, we can stop the hatred, so this video is very important to us. We’re contributing to peace and positivity,” said Lennard senior Tionna Whyte.
“Think positive, after they see the video, just spread the love,” said Lennard freshman Avion Whyte.
Every student could also receive a free T-shirt that said “Longhorn Strong #SpreadLove.”
“We decided that we were going to provide the students with shirts as a reminder of the great day we had,” said Principal Savino.
“I love it! Spread the love, definitely. When I came out here, I was like, ‘Yo,’ these t-shirts are awesome,” said Avion Whyte.
Students hope the feeling of unity, love and community connection will continue to spread.
“I think this message of kindness is really important right now. This generation is capable of so much, so I want them to get involved and take advantage of the opportunities that are all around them,” Wilkerson said.
“Just be positive and be happy that’s all it is about for us,” said Tionna Whyte.
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