By: Izabella Hernandez, STJ junior
Throughout the day, it is always nice to see a smiling face or to have someone simply keep the door open for a student who is walking in. Occasionally, a student forgets a pencil or what the page for the math homework is, and a student chimes in to help. At Saint James, small acts of kindness like these are frequently practiced. I find that throughout my daily schedule, friends and acquaintances alike make an effort to help the day flow more easily. For instance, during advisory, I have noticed several students help each other understand the pre-cal lesson of the day, quiz another for a big history test, or lend another a hair tie. These acts are certainly not elaborate, but they help every student just the same. Displayed prominently in the high school hallway is a bulletin board with ideas for showing kindness. Our counselors, Ms. Garzon and Mrs. Payne, encourage us to “take what you need and give what you can.” Many times, acts of kindness easily go unnoticed, but I believe that is a good thing. It shows that here at Saint James, little common courtesies are frequent and well received with a “thank you.”
It is obvious that Saint James students have manners and respect one another. Of course, we students joke around and give each other a hard time, but when push comes to shove, all students are willing to help out each other. Students even go out of their way to assist teachers during the day. I have seen students go downstairs to get papers from the copier, get a drink for the teacher from the vending machine, carry heavy boxes, and so much more. Teachers also do their part when it comes to kind gestures. For instance, whenever a student is feeling low, Mr. Harrison, our theater director, always tries his best to cheer them up and put a smile on their face, no matter how he is feeling that day. Similarly, our Latin teacher, Mrs. Conner, is happy to join in funny conversations and keeps the atmosphere of the classroom comfortable. But most famously, English teacher Mr. Clinton will dress up in the craziest costumes imaginable and stay in character to put a smile on his students’ faces.
The seniors, of course, were absolutely ecstatic to get their buddies this year and the little kindergarteners were equally excited! Seniors have been talking about how they intend to spoil their buddies, expecting nothing in return. They simply want to make their buddy grin and have a great day. Little acts like these make students so eager to get buddies when they become seniors. Even the juniors are abuzz with excitement this year for the day they are assigned a buddy! My sister, who was a senior last year, often times spoke about how great it was when her buddy, Alexa, gave her a hug and surprise handmade card. I remember that all the little buddies surprised their senior by putting a banner in their yards, most decorated with smiley faces and little stickers.
Also, Saint James often welcomes new students every year from different countries, who are embraced and respected by the student body. Often times, these new students are already trying to get used to the culture shock and Saint James students always do their best to make them feel right at home. Similarly, students in all grades make an effort to befriend any new student and take the anxiety off of such a big change. I find this to be a unique attribute of the Saint James student body that you cannot find anywhere else!
It is always important to be kind, helpful, and respectful to one another. These little acts of kindness could make someone’s day so much brighter and the giver may not even know. But ultimately, kindness is important because everyone feels safe and welcomed in Saint James’ environment, making the school days so much better.