By Tom Tolen /

Brighton High School has been a beehive of activity for the past week as it celebrated “Kindness Week” - with special projects and events taking place each day at the over 2,000-student school.

Kris Nelson and Jennifer Sprys-Tellner are staffers who volunteered to oversee and coordinate the events. Sprys-Tellner is a grade level principal at the high school and Nelson is a school social worker and Project SUCCESS counselor.

As Nelson puts it, “The week is about spreading the messages of kindness, love, peace, acceptance, tolerance, paying it forward, (fostering) a safe and supportive school for all, and random acts of kindness.” The week was also part of “Kindness Month” - an initiative by Superintendent Matthew Outlaw which has been observed during the month of February in all Brighton Area Schools.

Among the myriad activities that took place during Kindness Week, the group Peer Mediation made large hall signs promoting peace and kindness, passed out BE KIND stickers, set up a BE KIND Instagram account and promoted Random Acts of Kindness. The National Honor Society held a “Kindness Is Sweet - Give One, Get One” candy sale all week. Among other activities, the NHS Mental Health Committee placed kind Post-it notes on lockers and hosted a “How do you take time to be kind” board during lunch hours. The Gay Straight Alliance handed out rainbow bracelets and sent messages of acceptance and tolerance.

Also, the high school Parent-Teacher Organization had a surprise for students on Friday, handing out Bulldog stadium cups filled with treats and the words “BHS Glass Half Full”. The special week does seem to have had the desired results. One student said that, “Everyone’s feelings and emotions have been filled with so much uncertainty,” and that Kindness Week was the first week so far that made him feel really good about himself and wanting to do things for others.

In other activities, the school staff enjoyed a “Start the Day with Kindness continental breakfast, while both staff and students wore t-shirts with the words “BE KIND” on them. Also, bracelets were passed out honoring the life of Carl Nagy, a former Brighton student who was a victim of suicide in 2018. Part of the proceeds from the shirt sale will go to the Carl Nagy Foundation and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Since he took over as superintendent in late October, superintendent Outlaw has developed a theme for each month. November was designated as “A Month to Be Thankful”; December, A Month of Generosity; January, A Month of New Beginnings and February, A Month of Kindness.

Outlaw said when he first arrived, he became concerned about how the COVID pandemic would affect students’ optimistic outlook on life and youthful spirit, and wanted to keep the next few months filled with as much positive energy as possible. “While the world and the nation work their way through this period of time,” Outlaw said, his “hope is that a flood of ‘pawsitive’ energy will help keep students reaching for the stars.”

Featured in photo: Student Ben Mulligan and PTO volunteer Hilary Feaster-Bell.