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Noxon puts focus on kindness


January 31, 2019

Shana Neesvig

THE CHALLENGE IS ON – Noxon's Montana Behavior Initiative ambassadors have encouraged random acts of kindness by "challenging" the student body and community to participate in a week-long "Great Kindness Challenge." The event began Monday morning when teachers, staff and administrators were welcomed to share joy by dancing for students during an all-school assembly. Superintendent Mike Ehinger (far right) joined Amy Henderson, Angie Wilhelmson (#12 jersey) and Scott Richardson while students contributed laughter and applause of encouragement.

Montana Behavioral Initiative (MBI) Youth Ambassadors at Noxon have taken a proactive approach to making positive changes at school. Under direction of Dana Grupenhoff, a business teacher and woman who wears many hats at the school, the ambassadors have directed a "positive activity every six weeks or so this year," according to Grupenhoff.

"Our school was lacking a little in spirit and we were passionate about making a change," junior Brittany Hagen said sharing as the main reason the ambassadors organized the week-long Great Kindness Challenge, taking place January 28 through February 1. "We started with little things and moved up to bigger things like this challenge."

Monday morning students celebrated the event with a formal Kick-Off Kindness assembly. Students were informed they would be receiving a list of kind gestures, that once completed, could be checked off. Students would then be eligible to receive a prize for completing the list. To get everyone started, the first challenge on the list, smile at 25 people, was done collectively.

After that, it was the staffs turn to add a little positive energy to the school. They were given the opportunity to shake-a-leg for the students. Most teachers and staff members found their way to the gym floor and performed their "best" dance moves. This certainly got the student body in high spirits.

"The Great Kindness Challenge is a positive and uplifting program that creates a culture of kindness in schools, communities and the world," Grupenhoff commented, "and is a positive, proactive kindness initiative, reaching millions of students and families every year." The Challenge implements a 50-item checklist for schools and families to complete as they continue a path to positivity. Grupenhoff shared that the school edition is weeklong, but the family edition is designed for year-round kindness.

The week-long celebration includes a positive sign making competition for the junior and high school students, a thank you and group poster making event, kindergarten through sixth will have a hearts station activity and the whole school will celebrate the week by having dress up days. Hagen hopes that the positivity and kindness makes a permanent, not just weekly, change in the school.

Noxon's Mary Chaboya shared her kindness by knitting 105 stocking hats for each of the elementary students helping celebrate the week. The goal of the Challenge is not just to encourage all students to be kind, but to also reach community members and businesses in joining the random acts of kindness movement.

Members of Noxon's MBI are Andy Koonce, Cade VanVleet, Delaney Weltz, Edison VanVleet, Izzy Lampshire, Jared Webley, Jenna Freeman, Kali Murray, Madi Koonce, Martha Klaus, Megan Ehinger, Mia Vogel, Nathan Cano, Shelby Lackner, Vanessa Horner and Hagen. They have future plans of making positivity locker signs, forming a peer support group, getting playground buddy benches, painting encouraging sayings in the bathrooms and forming more fun and positive activities throughout the school year.

The goal of MBI is to help teach skills necessary for success; academic, social, emotional and behavioral. By providing a positive environment at school, where students are given the opportunity to learn and practice acceptance, kindness and develop positive personal interactions, MBI feels their goal will be better met.

Noxon is committed to providing a safe, caring, school and community climate where academics, personal confidence and social skills can flourish, hence the reason for implementing MBI.


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