Randomly being kindEast Ridge High School sophomores complete over 1,000 random acts of kindness at part of challenge by English teacher Sarah Lanners.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Holding a door for someone or helping a classmate with homework may seem like miniscule acts to some people, but at East Ridge High School it means something more.
“One little nice thing and giving back can make such a difference in someone’s life,” said East Ridge English teacher Sarah Lanners.
Back in January Lanners challenged her roughly 150 sophomores to perform 1,000 “random acts of kindness.”
Lanners’ students reached their goal recently by completing a total of 1,135 acts of kindness.
In addition to the satisfaction of doing good for others, the students received an additional award in the form of Lanners dyeing her hair pink.
I didn’t originally say that but if that will make them do nice things,” Lanners said, “go for it.”
Lanners debuted her newly dyed ‘do on March 5.
The random acts of kindness challenge developed after Lanners’ students read the autobiography “Of Beetles and Angles,” by Mawi Asgedom, which tells the story of a boys’ journey from a refugee camp in Sudan to Chicago with the central theme of doing good.
“The theme is really just to be good to each other,” Lanners said. “The big idea is to just be good people.”
After the completion of the book, Lanners came up with the random acts of kindness challenge as a way to apply what the students learned in the book.
For the challenge, students would write their acts of kindness on slips of paper every week and place them in a mailbox that was set up the classroom.
Each week Lanners would count the acts of kindness, and then record them on a chart the students had made to track how much further they had to go until 1,000.
“It was kinda interesting to see the different things they did for people,” she said. “There was a good variety.”
Some of the acts of kindness included helping classmates with homework, helping out at home, saying thank you to the bus driver, cheering on classmates at sporting event and even something as simple as giving a compliment.
Sophomore Tyler Thiessen took is act of kindness down to the Mall of America where he held the door open for a total of 147 people in span of 15 minutes.
“I just decided I wanted to be a good person that day,” he said. “I knew these people needed something to brighten up their day.”
Sophomore Heather Hattfull said the random acts of kindness challenge was eye opening for her.
“You don’t even realize how much of an impact we’re making in someone’s life by doing all of these little things,” she said. “It makes you feel really good.”
Lanners said she hopes to continue the random acts of kindness challenge in future classes.
“We learn a lot at school, but why not teach them to be good people,” she said. “But I already have a really good group of kids to begin with.”