Students at Cerritos Elementary School celebrated Yellow Ribbon Week this week with a classroom door-decorating contest that encouraged acts of kindness and compassion.
As their part of the national week-long Great Kindness Challenge, students in 17 classrooms participated in the contest, with eight judges selecting two classrooms — a sixth-grade class with 26 students and a third-grade class with 36 — as the winners, said Principal Perla Chavez-Fritz.
Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital on Friday sponsored a pizza luncheon for the two classes that won the contest.
“We want to help young people to develop a culture and philosophy of kindness because we know how powerful it can be,” said hospital spokeswoman Cassie McCarty, citing research that shows kindness and compassion toward a patient can improve their health and communication with care providers.
Among the winning students was third-grader Raul Rojas, 9, whose class designed the “garden of kindness,” decorating their classroom door with flowers, with each student writing their acts of kindness on the flower petals.
“On my petal, I wrote when I was at home, I helped my mom do my chores,” Raul said, adding that he learned that when he is kind to people, they are kind in return. “This week, I assisted the teacher, cleaned my classroom and when I asked a question, I raised my hand before speaking.”
Sixth-graders Malia Smith and Maral Oksazian said Friday that during the week, they and their classmates wrote letters to the school’s cafeteria and custodial staff to thank them for their service.
“This week is important because it teaches people that kindness is easy to do, but it’s really important,” 11-year-old Malia said.
Both students were in the class that decorated their doors with demonstrations of kindness they found in books.
The school also hosted other activities during the week to encourage kindness, such as “Buddy Day,” where older students were paired with younger ones to read and play together, as well as a challenge that encouraged students to complete 50 acts of kindness over the course of the week.