||Union High School|
||Greater St. Helens League|
Most schools start out the year with a pep rally, a call to their kids to get them excited for school, for the possibility of good in the coming 10 months. Now, I am not saying this is a bad thing, and in most cases it works extraordinarily well at boosting kids morals after having to wake up early for the first time in two and a half months. My school, Union High School, took the opportunity this year to go a different route on opening day (or more accurately week) as we hired a speaker by the name of Houston Kraft to come and talk to the student body about something that most would agree has been pushed to the side in today's society: kindness.
Houston’s message was simple: be kind to someone, show them they're special in some way, because you never know what kind of real situations that person may be experiencing. He drew on several personal stories dating from elementary school up to high school, with 2,000+ attentive faces leaning forward in their seats to hear everything. Volunteers were called to the front, laughs were shared, even the majority of Union’s faculty and staff were present to hear the life changing presentation. Yet, while Houston’s message was so simple, and while it did help everyone wake up and get ready for the long year to come, his talk about kindness held more meaningful ideas than anyone expected going in.
This message of being kind has spread all through Union and is evident everywhere you look. The leadership department hit the ground running with the motto “Choose Love,” one of Kraft’s favorite quotes. This year, instead of voting on who would become homecoming king and queen, Union decided to hold a random royalty week during the days leading up to homecoming. Random events and games are held, whittling down the randomly selected names until two are remaining. The thought behind this was, bouncing off of one of Houston’s most powerful anecdotes, that everyone deserves to have at least one day where they are treated like royalty. We as a school wanted this year’s royalty to not be crowned by a popularity contest, but by random chance, so that two special people will get the opportunity and hopefully feel the kindness and love that has seeped into Union’s courtyards. So why not “Choose Love”?