WO students spread kindness anonymously

WO Prep spreads kindness with notes

WO Prep spreads kindness with notes

Meagan Rockafellow

   Seemingly overnight, slips of colored paper appeared around the South building. Taped throughout hallways, bathrooms, and the cafeteria, the notes feature positive quotes from wide-ranging sources. In contrast to the white brick walls, the notes stand out, bearing their positive messages. They offer a gentle reminder that spreading kindness is important. 

   The project originated in the Girl’s WO Prep Class, a class that offers academic, emotional, and social support to students in order to foster self growth. 

Note created by WO Prep hangs in the hallway

 Instructor Amy Wilson said, “All the girls that are in the group were recommended as somebody with untapped leadership potential, untapped potential that we try to help develop.”

   Recently Wilson and Instructor Becki Dykstra asked students to find quotes that inspired them.

   Soph. Caz Kuipers said, “We didn’t even realize we were gonna put them up around the school, Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Dykstra were just like ‘choose the quotes that you think fit you.’” 

   After collecting quotes from the girls, Wilson and Dykstra revealed the true purpose of the assignment. 

   “We (WO Prep) wanted to promote kindness. We were thinking that this year has been so hard with all the pandemic stuff and we wanted everybody to have positive messages. We talk about it all the time in here, and the goal was ‘what do we think West Ottawa needs to hear right now?’ So they went into the project with the idea ‘what do think people need to hear?’ So those were the messages that they felt like the students and staff needed to hear,” Wilson said. 

   After collecting all of the quotes, the class printed and cut out the messages. They were then asked to put the notes all over South, especially in places where people congregate.

   Soph. Josie Dykhuis said, “We could put them anywhere that we wanted, like in places that we thought people would look. It was fun and I feel like people would look at some of them.”

   The messages are taped on lockers, on the walls of the hallway, on mirrors in the bathrooms, and even up high above the bench by the award cases. 

   Soph. Katie Mattias said, “We wanted to help boost people and make sure they are not alone and that we are here for them and that it’s not the end of the road; there is always more to go. And there’s people that love and care about you.”

   Dykhuis agreed; she said, “I feel like a lot of people surround themselves with negative energy and I feel like people just need something positive.”

   While small, the notes have been noticed. Sr. Wyatt Dykema said, “I think that they are nice to have around. It makes people smile, and look forward to the day.”

Note created by WO Prep hangs by the cafeteria

   Frosh. Dylan Henderson agrees with Dykema. “It seems like a good idea that could help people.”

   Little acts of kindness, despite being small, often are very impactful.

   Frosh. Charlie King said, “Kindness is a key part in respect. Because of the kindness that other people have shown me, it’s helped me believe that I, like everyone else, deserves respect.”

   Like King, many students at West Ottawa remember times where kindness has been significant to them. 

   Soph. Emma Greco said, “Every day I used to pass these two girls I didn’t know during passing time, they always commented on how pretty I was every time and I still remember that to this day.”

   Similar to Greco, Dykema has been impacted by the kindness of others. When he was about eight or nine years old, Dykema was getting ice cream. However after ordering he realized he had left his wallet at home. 

   “It was extremely embarrassing and humiliating,” Dykema said. Then to his surprise, a man who appeared homeless offered to pay for him. “Even though he did not have much of his own to spare, he gave what he had and paid for my ice cream. It taught me that the true key to happiness is to give, give, and give,” Dykema said.

   No matter how small the act, kindness is impactful. WO Prep’s project is a loud and clear reminder that now more than ever, West Ottawa needs kindness.