Ending Anti-Bullying Month with Positivity

West Hope Squad Ends Anti-Bullying Month with Duckloads of Positivity
Posted on 11/30/2020
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Hope Squad members with rubber ducksA month marked by acts of kindness and anti-bullying messages at Lakota West High School culminated in “Duck Duck Hope Week,” where rubber ducks sprinkled all over campus had but one purpose: to send students and staff off to Thanksgiving break on a positive note. 

“It’s already a hard year and people aren’t feeling themselves,” said Lakota West senior and Hope Squad member Rachel Curry. “We just wanted to do something to make everyone a little happier.” 

And so, the group selected one of the “least stressful” items they could think of to lead the charge: rubber ducks. During XH bell one day, Hope Squad student leaders planted rubber ducks conspicuously around the hallways and even in the parking lot, giving many of their peers a random and unexpected surprise throughout the remainder of the day. On the bottom of each duck was a random message of positivity or affirmation. 

The group also delivered a duck to each staff member, directing them to give it to one of their students who is either struggling or has been going out of their way to be kind to others. 

“Even if it’s not the positive message that brings them happiness, it’s the activity that takes our minds off things,” said Lakota West senior Kiyan Sharif

Curry reiterated that the group’s goal is always to create a positive environment not just for students, but staff too. Like many of her peers, attendance secretary Tracy Henderson felt the love. “I was given two ducks with special quotes to help brighten my day,” she said. “During these tough times, a little fun and group building is all we need! Plus, the students looked excited to share their hope to help their Lakota family.” 

Hope Squad, the school’s peer-to-peer suicide prevention program, focuses on building community and spreading hope and positivity among their peers all year long. As a way of recognizing November as anti-bullying month, the group was joined by three of the school’s other largest student-led groups: Inclusion Diversity Equity Action (IDEA), Student Government Association (SGA) and the Gay/Straight/ Transgender Alliance (GSTA). 

Each group owned a different week in November. SGA, for example, hung posters with positive affirmations throughout the school and organized a kindness week, assigning each day a different challenge. GSTA focused on education and awareness-building, including an acknowledgement of “Transday Remembrance,” where they read the 53 names of transgender individuals lost to an act of hate. 

“Raising awareness through simple acts of kindness has been a very positive influence at West this November,” said Lakota West language arts teacher Michelle Day. “The deliberate attempts to draw students, staff, and faculty together in a common goal of tolerance has been a bright light in a time of uncertainty.  If there was ever a time to remain consistent, positive, and benevolent, it is now.”

“It goes a long way to show that you can recognize the good in someone else,” Day continued. “Taking the time to acknowledge the good we do see makes us more aware of the goodness that surrounds us.”