Oak Knoll Named ‘Kindness Certified School’

oak knoll kindnessOak Knoll School of the Holy Child was named a “Kindness Certified School” following its participation in the National Great Kindness Challenge earlier this month, which included 15 million students in 28,062 schools and 115 countries across the globe.

The National Great Kindness Challenge is a grassroots movement presented by Kids for Peace, a global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

At the heart of The Great Kindness Challenge is the simple belief that kindness is strength. Schools across the country and beyond sign up online to register and participate. Then, throughout the last week in January, schools post videos or photos on social media showcasing their random acts of kindness.

Oak Knoll’s Lower School recently participated in several activities in celebration of the The Great Kindness Challenge.

The student-run Club 4 Change created condolence cards for Kobe Bryant’s surviving children following the NBA legend’s sudden death earlier this month in a helicopter crash in California.

Another challenge that third grade students organized was their annual Pennies for Patients program. For the past 15 years, Oak Knoll has participated in this program sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Here, students sign up to do extra chores at home to earn money. All of the proceeds are donated to research and medicine for children fighting Leukemia while supporting many of their patient support programs.

Oak Knoll's Kindness Certification Logo

In addition, the Lower School’s SPARK Club (Student’s Promoting Attitudes of Respect and Kindness), took part in an activity designed for students to get to know one another. Here, they moved from station to station while participating in activities that promote respect and kindness. The goal, said Patti Cepparulo, Oak Knoll’s Lower School drama teacher and after-school program director, was to allow students to get to know each other and reinforce that they are part of a family at Oak Knoll.

“Special acts of kindness like this have been well established here at Oak Knoll for some time,” she said.

In fact, for the past several years, she has run the “12 Days of Kindness Campaign” during the Christmas season where Lower School students come up with ideas on their own to spread kindness, some of which include giving compliments, holding the door for someone and doing an extra chore at home.

When Cepparulo or other faculty witness such random acts of kindness in their classrooms, the student’s photo was taken and posted on one of the Lower School’s bulletin boards – the Kindness board in the Bonaventura main hall and on the new “Be the I in Kind” board outside Cepparulo’s drama room.

The Great Kindness Challenge week was particularly special at Oak Knoll, Cepparulo, said because it was also the 46th annual national celebration of National Catholic Schools Week.

Both weeks collided as Lower School students created cards for military service men and women, participated in a basketball “Hoops for Cancer” fundraiser for $1 to take a shot during recess where proceeds raised was donated to CancerCare. Students also created personalized cards for cancer patients via CancerCare and collected change for Coins for Camp – a camp opportunity for middle school students at the Cornelia Connelly Center for Education in New York City.

“There is so much going on in the world and we want to be sure we are kind every day,” said Cepparulo. “There’s no one week of kindness here at Oak Knoll – it’s every day.”

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