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All Smiles

Members of the Beatrice community line up Friday morning to give Stoddard Elementary students smiles and high fives before they start school. This is the first occasion for the students to participate in The Great Kindness Challenge.

A group of Stoddard students explained to their peers Friday morning what The Great Kindness Challenge is before giving high fives to members from the Beatrice community before starting their day with smiles on their faces.

Students received challenge sheets to accomplish within the next week, with items including smiling, giving high fives and complimenting others. Members from the schools’ PTOs will be there in the mornings to help students with more difficult items on their checklists, like sending a thank you to the superintendent and bringing a penny for Pennies for Patients.

Jill Rice, counselor for Lincoln and Stoddard Elementary schools, said  it's been three years since Beatrice Public Schools has participated in the Great Kindness Challenge.

“We did it at Cedar Elementary and Lincoln Elementary, and then after that we got busy doing other projects and different things,” Rice said. “So this year we decided to bring it back, and now all three get to do it. It’s the first year for Stoddard, first year for Paddock Lane, but for Lincoln kids it’ll be the first time for them, too.”

Rice said the goal of the Great Kindness Challenge is to promote that students need to be aware of how they’re treating each other every day.

“Really, just promote the idea of respect, teamwork and community and just reducing tension between people to understand that we’re all in this together,” Rice said. “The more we have respect, the less we have bullying, the less we have conflicts. People are able to understand ‘oh hey, you have an opinion, I have an opinion, and I can be kind to you and respect that, but let’s work it out.’”

Paddock Lane and Lincoln will be holding their Community Tunnels on Monday at 9 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., respectively. Both schools will have a kickoff assembly 15 minutes beforehand.

The Great Kindness Challenge is a nonprofit organization that began in 2006, with the goal of kids making the world a better place. The challenge is now being done by schools nationwide.

According to the group's website, The Great Kindness Challenge focuses on a belief that kindness is strength and that as an action is repeated, a habit is formed.

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