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BeNice Week – Agnes Stewart Middle School

Be nice.

That was this week’s mission at Agnes Stewart Middle School – and it was a success.

Students gathered in the school’s gymnasium Thursday morning for the culmination of BeNICE week – a four-day event organized by Agnes teacher Ricci Huling that encourages students to be nice, feel gratitude, build community and understand how positivity can influence their own lives.

Huling also said that the behavior campaign aims to help students feel safe at school and to know that they community of people to “build them up and help them.”

Students at the school say the effort breeds a feeling of light and positivity throughout school.

“By the end of the week, people are just nicer to each other,” said eighth-grade student Emma Dyemartin. “It reminds people to be nice and help others around them.”

Throughout the week, students and staff focus on kindness with notes, words of encouragement and acts of service.

This year’s week of kindness looked a little different than in years past, as the program was expanded to also focus on compassion following the death of one of the school’s students last week.

Friday’s assembly began with a moment of silence for the boy – not a single one of the nearly 600 students made a sound.

Principal Jeff Fuller said Friday that the tragic news of the boy’s death was difficult for some to comprehend, but that students at the school rallied to provide comfort to one another.

“I actually think that having BeNICE week after receiving that news was a really good thing for the students,” Fuller said. “We were able to change the focus to compassion and reaching out to each other.”

In addition to the school’s increased focus on kindness, extra counselors were present at the school provide space for students and staff to talk and grieve.

“It was a difficult but this week’s events brought some cheer and gladness,” Fuller said.