Guest Blog: Principal Valerie Brower
Do you remember our friends from Brookfield Elementary School? We first introduced them in April to talk about their Choose To Be Nice program. In May, we learned of their continued dedication to spreading the Choose To Be Nice message in their community. Now, we would like to welcome our guest blogger for this week, Principal of Brookfield Elementary School, Valerie Brower.
The Brookfield School is located smack in the middle of a tight knit, urban neighborhood in Brockton, Massachusetts. We are situated at the end of a small road which can present some car and foot traffic issues for our neighbors each day as our 800+ grade K-5 students and teachers arrive and depart!
After the entire school and school community made the Choose To Be Nice promise, the children started initiating things that they could do to show that they made the commitment to be nice. They were eager to spread the word.
As a school, we decided that it would be a great idea to, in some small way, do something nice to express our gratitude to our neighbors for welcoming us, even when we create mild chaos in their quiet neighborhood, After some brainstorming, the children came up with a way to thank them and let them know that we appreciate being able to share the space with them….even though we might not always be easy to live with!
Over the past several weeks, each of the 33 classrooms in the school, took a turn, or two or three, and delivered a small plant and a note to each of the almost 100 houses in the neighborhood. The plant was small and the note was short…”I promise to help spread kindness whenever and wherever possible. And to the very best of my ability, I’ll be nice to those with whom I come into contact on a daily basis.” The Brookfield students have made the promise to Choose To Be Nice…won’t you? Have a nice day!
The children and teachers thoroughly enjoyed sneaking to the houses to leave the surprise and enjoyed the feeling of doing something nice. Many positives came from this small gesture but one story in particular took center stage.
A couple of days ago, Lynn Collins walked her grade 1 class down to one of the houses to deliver a plant and note. When the kids got to the door with the card and plant, an elderly woman saw them and came to the door. She was very excited and asked if they would wait so she could get her son, who had just had a very serious surgery and was housebound recovering. The children were excited and spent several minutes waving and yelling well wishes. The woman and her son were so happy and couldn’t express enough what it meant to them and how much the plant and the visit brightened their day.
This could have been the end of an already beautiful story but, this awesome teacher and her class were so moved and motivated to further cheer this man up, that they went back to school and made get well cards. The children tied them with a bow and a couple of days later, they walked back up the street and the class presented the man with the get well cards. Again, he and his mom were overwhelmed.
Okay now fast forward ….the woman recently came to the school with a beautiful thank you card for the class. We brought her down to the room and she captivated the class with how appreciative she was and what their thoughtfulness meant to her son! It turns out that she was a school librarian for many years and missed the connection of the children and a school community.
With not a dry eye in the house, we wished our new friend a farewell and 25 first graders learned an invaluable lesson in how easy it is be kind, to be caring and the value in just taking the time to be nice!