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This was National Random Acts of Kindness Week. Bethel High School students and staff came together to support local and national charities through various events during the week, culminating in an assembly Friday. Students wore tie-dye t-shirts in honor for TamboStrong, an organization to benefit the Tamburino family. Mike Tamburino was diagnosed with ALS last year, his wife Lois is an ISS teacher at BHS and their children are all recent BHS graduates.

The Kindness Committee includes five students who helped organized Spirit Week activities for the school community to participate in.

Senior Catherine Galliford says their first big project was to participate in World Kindness Day in November. They saw different instances of intolerance and hatred, not just in the school, and wanted to take a stand against it. Galliford added that seeing the proliferation of hatred turned her more cynical and she didn’t like the feeling.

Junior Audrey Garcia says the fall Spirit Week gets a lot of hype because it’s a competition and they wanted to channel that energy into this cause. The “Kindness Games” week involved a different charity each day, and students were encouraged to wear a specific color. Points were given to each grade level for their participation in the various activities. For example, students wore wearing orange on Monday and brought in canned goods to support the Bethel Food Pantry.

Throughout the week, a Penny Wars took place. Jars labeled by grade were placed around the school to collect pennies for TamboStrong.

Tuesday was “Make a Wish Foundation” Day.  Senior Emily Lane says they received information about four children, and each grade wrote letters to those kids. She says the community really comes together for students in need, and they want to show that kindness to others. Some of the funds in the Kindness Account was used to buy gifts for the children. At the end of the week, each of the four kids were sent a bag of supportive letters and a present.

Junior Anne Habeck says they sold carnations on Valentine’s Day and hosted a “speed friending” event. Like speed dating, the students reached out beyond their established group. Seniors and Sophomores got together, and the Juniors and Freshmen got together. Students reached out between grade levels to get to know other students at the school.

The JROTC program at BHS spearheaded Thursday’s Spirit Day, raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Patrick Joyce says they received merchandise from the organization, which were each sold for $1. The class contributing the most to got the kindness points for that day. Joyce notes that they also featured a video Thursday from the Wounded Warrior Project about how people can help them out during the year.

Joyce says this week is more personable than the fall Spirit Week, because many of the students know Lois Tamburino. Since it hits home, he says students who might not normally participate have done so this week.

About 500 tie-dye t-shirts were sold to benefit TamboStrong in the lead up to Kindness Week.

Assistant Principal Mari Lerz says the inspiration for the Kindness Committee came from various programs in place elsewhere. She says they wanted to make something uniquely Bethel, while teaching similar values. They looked at what Sandy Hook Promise and Ben’s Bells have to offer and created their own Kindness Program. It started small with World Kindness Day in November, followed by a gratitude and thankfulness advisory around Thanksgiving. Lerz says the kids came up with the idea to support five different charities during this National Random Acts of Kindness Week, while making it fun and interactive. 

Lerz says she’s very proud of the students on the Kindness Committee, who are working to make the school and the town a better place.