John Hay Families,
We participated in the “Walkout” today and it was truly a meaningful, beautiful event. The March 14th Walkout was organized as a nationwide protest against gun violence in schools. As a parent and an educator, I felt very strongly that we should participate as a school, but I was not sure how to do so in a meaningful way that our students could benefit from. I asked a parent, Laura Story-Johnson, to help brainstorm ideas with me and she came up with what I thought was the perfect idea.
Each student and adult was given a paper heart and the prompt, “What I want for every student in the United States.” Teachers then decided how to facilitate the discussion in class so that the students could thoughtfully draw or write their opinions on a heart. Student volunteers and I laminated and prepared the hearts and today, at 10:00 a.m., we met outside with our paper hearts.
Ms. Nelson-Knecht led us in the song, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” and I shared with the students that kindess and looking out for one another can change the world making it a safer place for everyone. I explained that when a group of people want to honor and remember someone or something important, we can join in a moment of silence, which we did with the suggestion to think about what we can each do to make the world a safer, kinder place. Then, older students met with their Buddy Classes to attach the hearts to the fence on the south side of the playground.
As we concluded, I shared three quotes from Maya Angelou:
• “Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.”
• “My wish for you is that you continue to be who you are, to astonish [the world] with your acts of kindness.”
• “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”
As you visit the school over the next month, you might want to take time to read through some of the hearts. They are remarkable snapshots of what students are thinking and feeling.
Tami R. Beach
Principal, John Hay Elementary