Starside Elementary School students cite acts of kindness
Students at Starside Elementary School gathered last Thursday to acknowledge adults who had affected their lives with kindness. Ten students read essays describing the adult they consider the Kindest Kansas Citian.
The Kindest Kansas Citian program was founded in 1990 to recognize adults with a positive impact on children. Essays read Thursday were directed to coaches, neighbors, friends of parents and high school study buddies.
This marks the ninth year for Starside to participate in the program. Counselor Paula Henderson said the program fits well with the school's character-based curriculum.
"If we don't stop, even as adults, to honor the kind things people do we focus on the negative," Henderson said. "Kindness is contagious from adults to children and vice versa."
Fourth-grader Tyler Hiskett wrote an essay on Sam Wilcox, a high school student assigned together as part of a community service class.
"Sam plays soccer with me," Tyler said. "He helps me with homework and makes math easier for me."
Other essays described adults who would tell jokes, take the kids to eat after practice or invite them into their house when it was raining.
Founder Barbara Unell said she was amazed when children jumped at the chance to write a positive essay and identify adults who did something kind.
"Sometimes the adults have no idea that the simple things they do can make the most difference," Unell said.
Essays selected for Thursday's program will be included with hundreds of others from around the metro area, which will then be pared down to 20 finalists and three that exemplify the Kindest Kansas Citian. All 20 of the finalists and their adult friends will be recognized at a banquet in April.
Henderson said the essays selected to be read were taken as a representative sample of the types of essays received. The students who read essays were: Monica Becerra spoke about her babysitter Jessica Steinger; Lyndsey Fowks wrote about Kathy Landers, her 4-H Leader; Rachael Giersch wrote about Bobbi Denton, a parent's co-worker; Tyler Hiskett wrote about Sam Wilcox his high school Buddy; Shelby Philbrook wrote about Doug Burkard, father of a friend; Garett Simon wrote about Mindy Miller, family friend; Sammy Jo Titus wrote about John Zvirgzdins, her coach; Dustin Thompson wrote about Holly Lindhoff, high school Buddy; Eric Williams wrote about Kirk Johnson, neighbor and basketball coach; and Mackenzie Williams wrote about Katie Hopkins, neighbor