HURON — Parents of school-age students are used to their children working on different assignments for the student’s respective classes.
But a group of third-grade students at the Madison 2-3 Learning Center has taken lessons learned outside of the classroom, built upon and expanded them into an awe-inspiring accomplishment.
And they did it on their own, with no adult guidance and for nothing but the grandest of ideals.
Over the months of March and April, first one, then two more, then a handful more and eventually the entire school made greeting cards and notes from construction paper, with the idea of presenting them to an ever-expanding list of those who just might be in need of a word of encouragement.
Like ripples on a pond, a good idea just kept growing and growing.
But to get the picture, one needs to go back to where it started.
“This past winter, we learned that two members of the Huron Public Schools family had been diagnosed with cancer,” said Shelly Fuller, a school social worker. “The Madison students raised more than $1,000 during February, which was ‘Random Acts of Kindness Month.’ The main message of the month was kindness and empathy,” she said.
In addition to the donations that the students brought in the form of loose change, students were encouraged to make cards for the families of those who were ill.
Then it just...grew.
By group consensus, the young lady who put into motion what transpired next is Nahomy Reyes.
“Miss Fuller asked us to make cards as an activity for the kids who had cancer,” she said quietly. “I made another card for another kid who might need it.”
Nahomy’s classmate Davis Osier noticed her card and asked her about it. “I thought, maybe we could make cards for everyone who was suffering from cancer,” Davis said, adding the first ripple to the pond of kindness and empathy. “Then Audrina had a great idea.”
“I said that I thought we could just make cards for all sick kids,” said Audrina Wiggins.
Audrina’s grandmother works at Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls and her idea included making cards and sending them to the hospital, to help raise the spirits of children who were ill.
The three began talking about it and then began making cards. Eventually more classmates, like David Jackson and Brianna Cronin became involved.
“I wanted to make a card because my Grandpa Joe died and I felt sad,” David said. Brianna jumped into the project with both feet. “She’s made like a trillion cards,” David said.
Brianna and Davis also looked into creating an app for the idea of making cards, but ran into a problem.
“It costs money,” Brianna said. “Like a LOT of money,” Davis echoed. The app went by the wayside, but the group met with Madison Principal Heather Rozell, explained what they were doing, and asked permission to make presentations to the other classrooms in the building. “We just wanted to keep getting more people involved,” Brianna said. It worked.
Over a two-month period, with no teacher, administrator or parent assisting, what began with an idea by Nahomy to make an extra card or two blossomed into a total of 1,585 cards by the time that May 1, the end date rolled around.
“I came back from Easter vacation,” Fuller said, “and Mrs. Rozell asked if this was an assignment that I had given the students. I didn’t know about it until that time. What they did is truly an act of kindness that kept growing and growing. and they did it on their own.”
“It is like the Kindness Circle Miss Fuller told us about,” Nahomy said. “It just keeps going; it doesn’t end.”
The next step in the process is for the 1,585 cards to find homes in the hands of hospitalized children. The decision was made to divide the cards between the Sioux Falls hospital and Huron Regional Medical Center.
“These kids are so amazing,” Fuller said. “What they’ve done is really what kindness is all about.”