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Lancaster Schools teach random acts of kindness

Lancaster third-grader Andrew Macre is excited about the act of kindness he has planned for his family this week.

“I will cook dinner for my family because my Mom doesn’t like cooking, and my family likes my cooking,” Andrew said Tuesday. He said he’ll be making tacos.

Andrew made the declaration as he looked at the pink construction paper chain his Court Street Elementary School class made with their vows of kindness written on them.

His classmate, Caroline Caligiuri, excitedly writes daily in her journal of kindness at home and wants to work hard at giving compliments to others. “My brother sprained his ankle so I made breakfast for him,” she said proudly.

Their school foyer is chock full of 130 stuffed bears collected from students and their families to be donated to patients at Women & Children’s Hospital.

Each morning, the students are practicing random acts of kindness from smiling at others to saying “please” and “thank you” in the cafeteria.

Decorating the wall outside Como Park Elementary School Principal Molly Marcinelli’s office are colorful student-made paper “friendship” pies to parallel the moral of the “Enemy Pie” by author Derek Munson that the children read in their classes.

Children wrote “recipes” with ingredients, including such things as one cup of kindness, a cup of respectfulness, a half of a cup of caring and one tablespoon of honesty.

“Kindness is not in a day, or in a week,” Marcinelli said. “It is 365 days a year, and that’s what we want for our students. It’s all the time. It’s the small things – the little things – the eye contact, the smile, and that’s what makes the world a better place.”

Down the hall from her office is a heart “tree” full of valentine-shaped pledges made by Tracy Amey’s kindergarten class with adorable notes. One tells how a student shared ice cream with his “Grampy.” Another kindergartner, Gianna McDonough, wrote: “I helped my nanny to get me ready for school.”

And at Hillview Elementary, staff and students have raised $1,000 of their $6,000 goal to build a water well on the other side of the globe to spread their kindness to another continent.

The school’s Good Citizen’s Club is pairing with a foundation to help build wells for clean drinking water in Sierra Leone.

Those are just three schools of the Lancaster School District’s seven schools that went out of their way Tuesday to do their part in the district’s third annual Day of Kindness – with some of them doing various service projects and activities for the entire week leading into Valentine’s Day or the entire month.

Five-year-old Lorelai Smith said she is learning to share toys and her jewelry, especially her jewelry with her mother and father. “I feel really happy when I’m happy to others,” she said. “I help my family make dinner, and when we have eggs, my Mom and Dad let me crack ’em. But me and my brother, Max, don’t eat ’em.” Her classmate, Peter Prinzing, 6, said he has started holding the door for his family.

Court Street Elementary School Principal Jacqueline Clinard loves that the kindness day is districtwide. “What makes this day special is that everyone is on the same page,” she said. “Kindness has to be ingrained in kids that we have to be treating each other well.”

Court Street third-grader Nicolas Monacelli gets it. “It feels really good to see smiles on other people’s faces,” he said.

His classmate, Allison Farmer, agreed. “As we get better at kindness, there’s much more kindness in the school,” she said.

“For me, this is like a one-day district celebration of what we try to do every single day,” Superintendent Michael J. Vallely said