Crestwood school, Mantua church team up to aid charity

Held contest to see which could do most acts of kindness

By Rachel Hagenbaugh | Staff Writer Published:

The Crestwood Middle School gym echoed with the sound of 450 cheering, stomping and clapping students who found out at an assembly Friday that they were the winners of a challenge with Hilltop Christian Church for who could do the most acts of kindness.

"There was a lot of energy behind this," said middle school teacher Kim Marfy. "The kids did a really good job."

Before winter break, the church's pastor, the Rev. Jeff Jackson, challenged the middle school students to a contest. The students had to initiate more acts of kindness in one day than the church did in one week. If the church won, the students had to put together a canned food drive. Since the students surpassed the church with about three times as many good deeds, the students were rewarded with an ice cream party.

Principal Julie Schmidt said the acts of kindness included letting someone borrow a pencil, sitting with someone at lunch, opening doors for others and complimenting classmates or teachers.

To show their determination to make Mantua a better place, the students still held a food drive and collected 255 cans for 4C's in two days.

"This was their initiative," Jackson said. "It's been fun for the church to see the school doing good things and to be a part of it."

The contest was part of Rachel's Challenge, an assembly the school held in October to promote kindness and compassion throughout the school, the district and the community. Rachel's Challenge is a program started by Darrell and Sandy Scott, the father and stepmother of Rachel Scott, the first student killed in the Columbine shootings in April 1999.

After the assembly, students formed a Friends of Rachel Club so the message would grow, Schmidt said. Since the club had so many participants, it formed sub-committees. The paper chain committee, made up of nine students and two adults, made advertisements and announcements prior to the contest to get students excited. Once the challenge was over, they formed a link for each act of kindness that a student exhibited.

"What was really monumental about this opportunity was that it pulled the community and school together," Schmidt said. "That is part of the vision for Rachel's Challenge."

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1123

or rhagenbaugh@recordpub.com

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