CCISD students kick off “Start With Hello” program
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Students at House Creek Elementary learned about ways to be kind to one another as part of the district’s “Start With Hello” program this week.
The “Start With Hello” program was originally started by the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, a non-profit organization that was started after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The program raises awareness about social isolation and helps students learn about the power connection through activities, public proclamations, student contests and award.
Start With Hello Week is recognized nationwide during the month of September, specifically September 21 to September 25, according to the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation’s website. September is also Suicide Prevention Month.
House Creek Elementary Counselor Amy Simpson said that she has seen a difference in the students and how they treat each other since the implementation of the program. This year, Simpson said she feels the students are even kinder and calmer and more open with each other.
“The purpose of ‘Start With Hello’ is to help kids recognize that including others changes the entire school community, so we want to make sure that students are looking out for maybe those that are sitting alone at lunch and not talking to someone or if they’re out at recess and they don’t have someone to play with, this is to say, ‘Get outside of yourself and start with hello,’ and that’s how you can start a conversation is simply starting with hello,” Simpson said.
On Tuesday morning, students worked on making green chains of positivity, writing down times where they helped somebody or were helped by somebody else or a word that represents kindness. The finished chains would hang in the main hallway near the front office at House Creek with a green banner saying “Start With Hello” as a reminder to students to be kind.
In Vanessa Blomquist’s 4th grade class, some students shared what they wrote on their green paper. Some students shared examples of helping their friends and classmates, while others shared words. One student wrote about something people can do to be kind, like asking if someone is okay.
“We have some examples. We have some people. I love all of these,” Blomquist said. “So, kindness isn’t just a word- it’s the things that you do, right?”
Melanie Russell, 9, said she liked the paper chain activity.
“We’re learning a little bit more about why we celebrate this because we think it’s important that everyone feels included,” Russell said. “There’s a lot of people who do like to be included and don’t like to be left out.”
Russell said she and her classmates all wore green because “we want to make sure that everyone feels included and make sure that everyone feels important.”
Noah Allen, 9, said he wrote about his class on his green paper chain “because pretty much everyone in there is my friend, and they support me. They help me and they’re just all friendly.”
Allen said he liked the different activities, including the green chain.
“That’s one of the things I like about it because I don’t know everybody in this school, so this is the perfect opportunity to know more people,” Allen said.
He added that he liked wearing green for the day because it is his favorite color.
House Creek Elementary was the first campus to incorporate the Start With Hello program last year, and the Copperas Cove High School DECA chapter worked to introduce the program to the rest of the district.