Tribune Review: ‘Great Kindness Challenge’ begins at Grandview Upper Elementary School

As will be the case in many instances I’m not mentioned by name but I was very much part of the event

Kindness rules the school this week at Grandview Upper Elementary.

Monday marked the start of the “Great Kindness Challenge,” a weeklong program designed to promote kindness.

Students, faculty, and parents filled the auditorium as the school hosted a festive morning kickoff — complete with streamers, an appearance by the Highlands Rams mascot, cheerleaders, and a live DJ entertaining the crowd.

The challenge takes place Jan. 25-29 nationally, with over 2 million students participating.

Grandview enrolls 630 students in grades 3 to 5.

A nonprofit, The Great Kindness Challenge, is free and open to all schools.

The students have one week to complete up to 50 kind acts from a provided checklist.

Suggested kindness challenges include: giving your friend a high five, helping a younger student, making a new friend, smiling at 25 people, sitting with a new group of kids at lunch, helping your teacher, drawing a picture and giving it to someone, and thanking your bus driver.

“Kindness can be done by anyone, anywhere, and should be practiced by everyone and this event unifies us as a school. The kids are really proud of their kindness efforts throughout the week,” said Heather Bigney, principal at Grandview.

The event is a proactive and positive anti-bullying prevention program designed to promote a culture of kindness at school.

The challenge began in 2012 with just three schools participating.

Bigney learned of the program while attending an educators’ conference in Nashville, Tenn.

She felt it would be a great fit for Grandview.

“I wanted to totally do this,” said Bigney. “It’s a win-win and our students go above and beyond doing nice things at school, home, and in their community.”

A giant handmade “Kindness Tree” hangs on a wall at the school and will be adorned with hundreds of handmade hearts from each student — one heart for every five acts of kindness.

“Last year, the Kindness Challenge actually broke a Guiness World Record for the largest collage of cut-out hand prints,” said Bigney. “We sent in our hand prints and, globally, they broke the record.”

“We should all be a little nicer,” said parent Candice Rae, who has two children enrolled at Grandview and attended the kickoff rally. “This is awesome and I noticed last year my kids were actually a lot nicer and aware during the week. It even spilled over into the next week.”

According to the Great Kindness Challenge website, over 4,100 schools united and inspired over 109 million acts of kindness in 2015.

Kindness counts when combating bullying as 1 in 3 American school children are harmed by bullying, according to

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Check out some images/video from this awesome event!

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