Spirit Week ‘Starts with Hello’
By Holly Jenkins
Rappahannock County Public Schools participated in Start with Hello Week from Sept. 24-28. This nationwide initiative, created by Sandy Hook Promise, was designed to promote a culture of connectedness to prevent gun violence. Both schools engaged in a variety of activities geared towards creating a stronger sense of social community while preventing social isolation.
At the elementary school, students started off the week wearing name tags. They were asked to say hello to other students they didn’t know to promote friendly gestures in the school building. In addition, students wrote positive notes to the student body that were posted on classroom doors. These messages created a positive atmosphere throughout the hallways. At the high school, the classroom doors were also covered with numerous, handwritten messages from students. The anonymous notes included positive sentiments such as “Hope you have a day as AMAZING as you,” “Hey Beautiful, Keep Smiling,” and “You are loved!”
On Tuesday and Thursday, the Peer Mentors visited RCES to mingle with the younger students over lunch. Both school principals, Ben Temple and Jimmy Swindler, agreed that this was a mutually beneficial experience for all students. According to Swindler, “Watching our high school peer mentors go to the elementary school and mingle with fourth through seventh graders at their lunchtimes was priceless. The benefits of beginning to build those peer relationships early are beyond measure and seeing the ‘little kids’ delight at the ‘big kids’ taking an interest in them was perhaps the most magical moment of the entire week. Kudos to our students and to our peer mentor program for initiating what I hope will become a monthly event.”
In addition, this week was also spirit week at both schools. A large number of both students and staff showed their school spirit by participating in schoolwide daily themes. The elementary school held a variety of themes such as pajama day, color day, sports jersey day, hat day, and blue/gold day. At the end of the week, the PreK/K team scored the most participation points and was awarded the spirit stick. At the high school, the daily themes included Meme Monday, Twinning Tuesday, Country vs. Country Club Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and Class Colors Friday. The week ended with a fun Pep Rally to kick off the Homecoming weekend festivities.
Swindler added, “Having Homecoming Spirit Week coincide with Start with Hello week was a happy coincidence and I believe it helped to make both events better. Many of the spirit week activities reinforced the spirit of “Start with Hello” and in turn many of the “Start with Hello” initiatives supported and enhanced the spirit week. The combination of the two worthwhile events resulted in an enormous amount of positivity and relationship building in RCHS.”
WCDS Fun Run
Complete results of the Wakefield Country Day School annual 5K Fun Run — a fundraising event for the WCDS Athletics Department — coming to this space next week!