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NEW KNOXVILLE — Elementary students are showing kindness and compassion to be ROCKs this year in conjunction with the school’s Rachel’s Challenge program.
Students in kindergarten through the sixth grade assembled Thursday afternoon to hear about how they can be a ROCK (Rangers Offering Kindness and Compassion). Throughout the school year, students will be learning about being kind and compassionate toward others through videos clips from movies like “Finding Nemo” and “School of Rock” and through classroom discussions with New Knoxville Guidance Counselor Trent Fledderjohann. The video clips, Fledderjohann told the students at the assembly, will focus on a word related to being kind and compassionate. The word for October is self-control, and at the assembly, students learned about selflessness after viewing a clip from “Charlotte’s Web.”
“Is it good to only help your friends when you’ll get something in return?” Fledderjohann asked students at the assembly.
He explained that students should help others even when they will not get anything in return.
“Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t the easiest thing to do,” Fledderjohann said. “Sometimes we need to help our friends even though we know we won’t get anything in return.”
In addition to Fledderjohann leading discussions with students, a group of student ambassadors was chosen to help. Organizer Pam Bergman said the students were selected by teachers that the student had last year and this year.
“The guidance councilor and ambassadors will work together to present lessons on compassion and kindness to their class,” Bergman said.
“Ambassadors will meet once a month and help plan activities throughout the school year.”
Each week, students that show kindness and compassion will be recognized.
“This year, we are writing your names on a clipboard, and if a teacher sees a student doing something nice, they’ll write your name down,” Fledderjohann told students.
Bergman noted that clipboards will be hung around the building so teachers can record the acts of students in any grade level, not just in their own classroom.
Once a student’s name is written down on a clipboard, their name will be entered into a weekly drawing for a prize.
At the assembly, students were given a challenge.
“Our goal is to get enough acts of kindness to award students with a rock concert,” Bergman said.
New Knoxville students were introduced to Rachel’s Challenge last year after Bergman and fellow organizer Jenny Fledderjohann saw Rachel’s brother speak.
“Rachel was the first kid killed at Columbine, and after she passed, they found that she had done all these acts of kindness,” Bergman said, noting that while most students do not know the details of Rachel’s death, they know that she was a good person. “Jenny (Fledderjohann) and I saw her brother speak and we were just blown away.”
Bergman said the program encourages students to do more than what they are asked.
“Our focus is on doing acts of kindness that are above and beyond,” she said.
“For example, giving more compliments, sticking up for someone that’s being bullied or offering to help someone who is struggling.”
Bergman said she hopes the school can continue the program in the future.
“We would like to keep up with the ROCK theme,” she said.