Looking to involve every student in increasing suicide awareness and prevention, NatStuCo members at Mountain View High School in Mesa, AZ, organized a project aimed at fostering support and inspiration. During classroom visits, members explained how everyone could contribute to improved outlooks, and they encouraged students to write positive messages on strips of paper. Teachers collected the strips and members made one long, optimistic paper chain spanning 763 feet. Though members thought they could have explained some of their directions more clearly, they certainly couldn’t have garnered a better outcome: More than 3,500 people participated, and their messages were displayed in the school’s halls.
In order to help new students adjust to life at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans, NatStuCo members organized an orientation event. Members helped new students find their way around the school, served food and drink, and delivered an interactive speech with costumes and props. The interactive speech outlined how to achieve academic success, have a positive attitude, and get involved at Mount Carmel. Members took time to teach new students the school fight song, passed out cards encouraging acts of kindness, and prompted new students to create their own “we are proud of you signs” to display on lockers. Members cleaned up after the event and hung 250 locker displays to foster a sense of belonging for the new students.
Bringing Hope Into the Fold
At L’Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Township, MI, NHS executive board members wanted to engage all students and benefit the community even amid pandemic restraints, so they encouraged their classmates to support the Hope Crane Project at Michigan Medicine-University of Michigan. Developed by a former patient and launched to comfort patients admitted to the adult psychiatric inpatient unit, the Hope Crane Project is inspired by a Japanese legend that says you can manifest a wish if you make 1,000 cranes in one year. After learning origami techniques, NHS executive members taught origami to others. Members significantly surpassed their original goal by making 740 origami cranes, which they happily delivered to Michigan Medicine.
Halloween at Hogwarts
At Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, NY, NatStuCo members formed a committee and created a week of Harry Potter-themed activities and challenges with the goal to have all students participate. After members sent invitations to students to attend Hogwarts, the activities started with a sorting hat survey, which was conducted using Google Forms. Students were placed in Hogwarts houses according to their answers and in the days following, they were encouraged to dress in their house colors. Other activities included a Hagrid’s Pumpkin Patch pumpkin carving activity, the creation of a wand, a Triwizard Tournament, and a Marauder’s Map creation challenge based on the layout of the school building. Activities culminated in a costume challenge, which took place over Halloween weekend. During a time of considerable disconnect, the activities created a strong sense of unity.
Gratitude Is the Best Attitude
NatStuCo members at Ripon High School in Ripon, CA, wanted to offer students who were about to graduate a chance to give thanks to an inspirational staff member, so they created an event in which students could share letters of gratitude. After composing their messages, seniors dressed up in their graduation caps and gowns to surprise teachers by entering their classrooms and reading their words of appreciation. For seniors, the staff, and the class watching, this event brought happiness to all.
Setting Kids Up for Success
NJHS members at Fulton Science Academy in Alpharetta, GA, initiated a school-supplies drive to support local children in need. Members created posters and emails to promote the fundraiser and tracked participation using Google Forms. They also set up drop-off boxes around the school, which they checked routinely for donations. Despite a slow start, the drive amassed scores of school supplies for children otherwise lacking access to them. Members retrieved and organized the donations, then dropped them off at a collection site following the drive. Students look forward to continuing to support children in their community.
Don’t Hate, Donate
Despite difficulties posed by COVID-19, Colin Powell Middle School NJHS members in Matteson, IL, banded together and created a fundraiser to support people experiencing homelessness in their community. Members generated involvement from students, teachers, parents, community members, and businesses by promoting the fundraiser on social media and through the distribution of flyers. Overall, they collected 80 essential items such as toiletries, canned food, masks, and clothing, which they then donated to a community hub providing services to families in need. The number of NJHS members continues to grow, as does their commitment to improving the lives of people experiencing homelessness.
Stay Home, Stay Safe, and Watch Movies
Realizing the possibility for an in-person holiday activity was unlikely due to the increased number of people testing positive for COVID-19, student council members at J.D. Middle School in North Las Vegas decided to host virtual family movie nights. After researching holiday movies that would be appropriate for the entire family, NatStuCo members made Google slides that advertised featured movies and included a Google link for participation. The slides were posted on the school website, and members also recruited teachers to encourage students to join the events.