Admiration for achievers

Appreciation for hard work is shown through a kind act


Photo by Kiersten Watkins

Third Grade teacher, Gina Hill, teaches her students the reason behind the #BeKind campaign while they work on different projects. Her class, along with two other third grade classes finished writing letters to all the high school students in the 32 & Above Club. “I would love to recruit more people to do this in the future,” Hill said. “I didn’t realize the undertaking of it because I didn’t know how many high school students were in the 32 & Above Club. It would be great to start getting more people involved. The more the merrier.”

Kiersten Watkins, Staff Writer

A kind action has been taken by Black Elk students within the past couple of weeks by writing celebratory letters to the Millard high school students that received high scores on the ACT test.

Third grade teacher Gina Hill had the idea to do something for the hard working students enrolled in Millard high schools. Hill’s idea was to have Black Elk students write congratulatory letters to the upperclassmen that received impressive scores on the ACT. All the members in the 32 & Above Club were given letters from the younger students.

“After reading the newspaper article, I was very impressed with all the Millard students that got such good grades on the ACT and I just wanted to do something for them,” Hill said. “I wanted my class to see it, too. These high school students did something amazing and you can tell because their hard work in school paid off.”

After finding out about the number of people in the 32 & Above Club, Hill recruited more teachers at Black Elk in order to get more support. Time was put aside each day for the third graders to write these letters. After gaining the help of two more classes, it took less than a week for all the letters to be written.

The hard work put into these letters was beneficial for both the third graders and the high schoolers. Receiving these letters informed the older students that they are being watched and they are influencing younger generations. The third graders were taught about how to write a formal letter as well as how important it is to put in the hard work to accomplish their goals.

“First of all, I just hope that the high schoolers enjoy getting a letter from these third graders,” Hill said. “I just want them to know that we are looking up to them and that we’re proud of them. That was a huge test and they should know that others are proud of them. We want them to know that here at the elementary school, younger kids are looking up to them as well as past teachers. We are watching you and we want to follow in your footsteps.”

Millard West students in the 32 & Above Club were given their letters at the same time during the school day. Principal Greg Tiemann showed his gratitude for the students accomplishment by handing out the letters to each student individually.

“Getting a letter from a third grader was really unexpected,” senior Michael Ilg said. “I think that for high schoolers, these letters are another piece of admiration, but knowing that it was made by a little kid makes me even more proud of what I’ve done as a student. I didn’t think little kids cared about the tests that we take as high schoolers, let alone the scores we got on the ACT. Knowing that elementary school kids are looking up to me is really inspiring and it makes me want to do better.”

Photo by Kiersten Watkins
Millard parent, Travis Hoops, is one man that has been impacted by the kindness created by the third graders at Black Elk elementary. Letters were sent to all of the Millard high schools because Hill believed that accomplishing something as difficult as the ACT and receiving a good score is a hard thing to do and those students deserve the recognition. “I think that it helps a lot with the #BeKind campaign especially within the younger ages because I think students need to get into the practice of showing gratitude and showing support as well as using kind words and practicing how to uplift others by using words,” Tiemann said. “It’s been a great campaign gof this year. It is helping people realize the positives in their lives.”

This is one of the many acts that has been done at the elementary school level for both students and teachers. The #BeKind campaign has become a big part of Millard this year and many new events have been created due to the affect it has on people’s lives.

“I think that the elementary schools have had some great ideas because it has helped them and us here at Millard West,” Tiemann said. “Our students were so proud of their own hard work and they were clearly very happy about being recognized by the young groups of students. The high schoolers were surprised with learning that the students from younger grades were noticing their hard work.”

High school students have worked hard to get the scores that they did on the ACT, getting a letter from the younger students was an act of kindness that impacted them and their parents in a positive way.