Becky McCollum’s first- and second-period 10th-grade classes — with the help of Abby Davis and Sarah Frazier — are learning about how a little act of kindness can go a long way. To begin the “Awareness Rocks Project,” they started reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel, an autobiographical novel documenting his experience of the Holocaust as a Jewish citizen.
Once the class finished reading the book, McCollum, Davis and Frazier passed out a rock to each student. The idea of this assignment was to continue discussions from the novel about indifference and what can happen when people stand by silently when atrocities occur.
They chose to paint rocks because, within the Jewish faith, it’s customary to leave a small stone on the grave. Recently, the “Kindness Rocks Project,” a national movement, promotes random acts of kindness to unsuspecting recipients by painting rocks with inspirational quotes.
“We combined the two ideas and researched other events in recent history where crimes were committed because of hate. We memorialized the event on one side and put an inspiring quote on the other in hopes to promote more kindness and compassion. Sadly, as we neared the end of the project, tragedy struck Las Vegas,” said McCollum.
”My students took the project even more seriously at that point and put forth their best work. I’m so proud of the conversations surrounding this project. Most conversations were not even directed to me, but to each other as they painted. Sometimes teenagers can get a bad rap but thankfully, in my job, I get to see their caring hearts daily. Just another week I’m reminded how I’m so blessed to work with the young adults at Forbush High School,” said McCollum.
“It really opened our eyes. It got us to know more about the Holocaust and it really spoke to us,” said Emma Wood, a 10th-grader at Forbush.
Edgar Markman, another sophomore who participated in the assignment, said, “All the evil in this world and we don’t really do anything about it. This project made me realize we need to start doing more.”
Not only has this project impacted the students here at Forbush, but others too can make an impact by trying to do one small, random act of kindness daily.
Jesse Keaton is a sophomore at Forbush High School.