“Hello” Makes a Huge Difference

“Hello” Makes a Huge Difference photo

Students and educators in throughout the district participated in “Start with Hello Week” in another district-wide effort to practice and promote inclusion and tolerance. This program, created by Sandy Hook Promise, focuses on uniting people of all beliefs and backgrounds, and creating climates of inclusion, ultimately to protect children from gun violence.

This week-long program provided opportunities for fostering a warm and welcoming learning environment, promoting friendship, and more. Throughout the district, each day of the week looked a little different. Bright and early Monday morning local home-town heroes greeted Bellerose and Dickinson Avenue students with warm smiles and hello’s as they descended off the bus and headed into school.

“Regularly receiving a warm greeting from those around us can truly make a difference in our lives,” said Dickinson Avenue Principal Laurie Storch.

At Ocean Avenue, students made physical representations of saying hello by placing their handprints on canvases that were mounted in the school’s All-Purpose Room.

NHS provided students with the opportunity to take part in a photo booth that served as a pledge to say hello to others. Photos with students holding up their names were posted in the commons so other students could put faces to names, and serving as a pillar of support for students who are looking to make more connects or maybe just looking to say hello. Later in the week, students participated in “Random Act Day” by leaving positive post-it notes for friends, staff members, or people they’ve never met before! The school was filled with smiles as students connected with others they didn’t necessarily know the week prior.

“Each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference in the lives of others,” said high school counselor Laura DeSantis. “I hope that this week served as a reminder as to how our actions impact those around us.”

Wednesday, Sept. 26 was “Hey” Day, where students and staff all received nametags and were encouraged to greet each other by their first name throughout the day. On Friday, students wore their favorite shirts for “Fave Shirt Friday” as a conversation starter with others.

“Throughout the district we will continue to seek ways to cultivate respectful, dignified relationships that connect us all,” said Superintendent Robert Banzer. “”Start with Hello” fit in well with many of our other initiatives to enhance a sense of community throughout our schools. It was a wonderful week.”