HATHORNE — Essex Tech students took part in the fourth annual Kindness Week, which promotes the importance of kindness within the school community.
Students participated in activities from April 11-14, including an arrival celebration, community service projects, and a #HawksChooseKindness photo contest. Students also decorated the school building, sent thank you cards, and attended student assemblies that stressed the power of kindness and why it is necessary in the Essex Tech community according to Superintendent Heidi Riccio.
School Resource Officer Michael Chase spoke about his experience being at the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The events of Kindness Week embrace the spirit of what has become One Boston Day, celebrated annually on April 15.
“My goal is to share my experience and how I found kindness in one of the darkest days of my life,” Officer Chase said. “It is my hope that I can use this experience to make a positive impact on students and improve school culture.”
During class on Monday, April 11, Students viewed the documentary “Love, Colleen,” the story of the late Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer. This video emphasized Ritzer’s legacy of kindness and fit seamlessly into Essex Tech’s week.
Students also participated in several collections to benefit area agencies.
• A toy drive, organized by Abigail Ward, a Natural & Environmental Sciences sophomore, who collected new toys and stuffed animals for Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
• Sophomores in Health Assisting organized a clothing drive for Beverly Bootstraps, which provides critical support services and resources to families and individuals in several sending communities.
• A personalized kindness mug was sold to staff, with proceeds donated to the Theresa Joens Memorial Tool Fund.
• Sophomores also organized a food drive to support My Brother’s Table of Lynn.
• Students in the Companion Animals program collected food and items to support animal shelters on the North Shore.
One of the signature events was a reading initiative, where Essex Tech students read a kindness story via Zoom to elementary school students across the country.
On Tuesday, seniors and sophomores attended a staff-versus-student hockey game, during which the boys varsity team joined forces with seven girls who play on the cooperative team with Bishop Fenwick.
Staff also competed against a combined boys and girls volleyball team, with juniors and first-year students in attendance.
“Kindness Week also reinforces that even the smallest intentional act of kindness can have a profound and lasting effect,” Superintendent Riccio said. “Through their thoughts and actions, our students learn they can be the change they want in the world.As a school whose mission is to train the future workforce, the act of giving back is an essential attribute of a great employee.”
“Kindness Week has become a very special part of our school culture. It brings out the very best in our students and staff. It is so impressive to see how many people participated in some way to make Kindness Week a success,” Principal Donnelly said. “This week serves as a reminder that we need to be kind to each other, not just this week, but all year long.”