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Kindness Matters

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INSIDE LOOK: One of the stories from Pete and Shone’s class talks about getting a bunny. The students were to also illustrate their stories freehand. Pete said they weren’t allowed to trace anything, they had to use their imaginations.
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TEAM EFFORT: Amanda Pete and Victoria Shone stand with their fifth grade class,as the students hold their “Kindness Matters” book.
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TAKING A LOOK: William Navas, Serenity DeBoard, Kade Nye and Karina Lewis look inside the book, “Kindness Matters.” The students each wrote a story about a time they either received or gave kindness.

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

Maconaquah Elementary School Principal Kelly McPike got a bit of a surprise on Monday when a fifth grade class presented her with a book they wrote, illustrated and published centered around acts of kindness.

McPike said she attended a conference in October where she heard Leon Logothetis speak, a man who had set out on an adventure across the world on his yellow motorbike, without any money. She said he solely survived on the kindness of others.

From there, McPike came up with the idea to challenge the school to 600 acts of kindness before the end of the school year. So far, she said they’re at the halfway mark with 300 acts down, 300 to go.

Teachers Amanda Pete and Victoria Shone’s fifth grade class took the challenge a step further with writing their own book, “Kindness Matters: 5th Grade Tales of Kindness,” full of their stories centered on acts of kindness the students had either received or had given to others.

Karina Lewis, a student in the class, said they had decided they wanted to do a kindness project to go along with McPike’s challenge, so they set out to do just that.

Student Kaden Brown said he wrote about a time he helped his brother “score a win” in the video game Fortnite.

Laiyne Townsend said he wrote about a time he helped his grandmother fix pipes in her house, cook a meal and clean up afterwards.

Lewis said her story was a bit different because hers wasn’t about showing kindness, it was instead about receiving kindness. She said she was born in Asia in 2007 and two-and-a-half years later she was adopted.

“(My parents) adopted me and took me home, and everyone was so happy to meet me,” she said.

The students said it was both exciting and nerve wracking to see the final product. Some said they were a bit nervous for everyone to read what they wrote, but Brown spoke up and said “I felt famous,” when he saw the book.

Shone said the class spends 30 minutes everyday on writing and were reminded of the joy kindness can bring as they recalled their own acts of kindness for the book. 

“So it kept the theme going longer and they in a sense got to relive the kindness over and over, which is pretty cool,” she said, “and everyone got to read everyone else’s stories of kindness. So it was a cool, fun experience.”

The process of putting everything together was a learning experience too, according to Pete. She said when the class started out in August, they were struggling with some of their writing skills and how to get along with one another, but now they’ve put together a book and have grown closer as a group.

“I’m really proud of the progress these students have made just with their writing in general and they are showing kindness everyday,” Pete said.

A copy of the book now sits on the counter in the front office for all to see.