Project at NRHEG elementary school encourages gratitude
ELLENDALE — Led by fourth and fifth graders, students at NRHEG elementary school are taking part in an initiative to spread positivity throughout the school and community.
Started by staff members Brooke Krohn and Bre Bethke and sponsored by local nonprofit Finly’s Wings at Work, the Gratitude Campaign started Oct. 19 and runs through Thanksgiving week. The campaign encourages all the elementary students to send positive messages on sticky notes and put them on the “Great Wall of Gratitude” inside the building.
A handful of fourth and fifth graders make videos each week and send them to all the teachers at the school, who then show them to their classes.
“The videos encourage kids to take just one minute out of the day to write on a little sticky note what they’re grateful for,” Krohn said. “The videos prompt them for different things. One week it might be ‘Think of your siblings’ or ‘ Think of your friends.’ What specifically are you grateful for there?”
Once the students are finished writing on their sticky notes, the teacher finds a time throughout the day to take the class down to the wall, where they place their notes along with the rest of the school’s notes. So far Krohn said there are over 1,000 sticky notes on the wall.
Bethke said the idea came about after receiving a video from the Look for the Good Project.
“We were really interested because it focused on just being positive,” Bethke said. “But also how simple it is and that the students can really get into it and help with it. Especially right now, we just want to focus on being positive and having a good mindset.”
Normally, the program would last about two weeks, but due to the pandemic and NRHEG being in a hybrid model, the project will now run through the week of Thanksgiving.
The students who were selected to make the videos were asked to “apply” for the jobs and explain why they wanted to be part of the campaign.
“I had teachers coming into my room right away, saying how fun it was to see the kids making the videos and see how much they got involved in it,” Bethke said. “I’ve heard a lot from the kids as well. When we walk by the wall it’s fun to watch them find their sticker and tell me what they wrote about. It’s been really positive.”
Out of the thousands of sticky notes on the wall, both Krohn and Bethke said they hope the biggest takeaway the students get from the project is to be grateful for the things they can control.
“By being grateful and showing gratitude, it puts our mindset in more of a positive place,” Krohn said. “That’s really what we want people to take away from this. There’s always something to be grateful for. It might be big, it might be small and it might be insignificant to somebody else, but as long as you are grateful for it and it fills your mind and heart with positivity, that’s really all we want.”