Students accept the Great Kindess Challenge
Random acts go long way in making difference in lives of others
Last week, S.J. Welsh Middle School’s Acts of Random Kindness Club participated in The Great Kindness Challenge, doing more than 1,000 random acts of kindness on its campus and throughout the community.
The school was one of 19,000 in more than 100 countries that took part in the week-long challenge to “create a culture of kindness.” Students had to complete a checklist of 50 random acts of kindness, like making new friends, along with smiling and complimenting their peers.
Michelle Fontenot, ARK club co-sponsor, said students could also come up with their own acts of kindness.
“They made different posters and passed out sticky notes,” she said. “Even to the teachers, we got so many notes,”
Collin LeBlanc, an eighth-grade student, said focusing on teachers was initially difficult, but an important part of the challenge.
“Some of them give you a lot of work and a lot of grades,” he said. “But when you do (a random act of kindness), you realize it’s made a difference in their lives. Adults need love and kindness, too.”
Landon Fontenot, a seventh-grade student, said he found the perfect recipe for striking up new friendships during the challenge — making people laugh.
“From there, we’re friends,” he said.
“Nobody knows what their life is like going on at home,” Emily Walters, a seventh grader, said about the need for campus-wide kindness.
ARK is the newest club at S.J. Welsh, which has the largest student population in the district. Fontenot said she saw a need for a positive outlet on campus while serving lunch duty earlier in the year.
“I noticed 15 or 16 kids crammed at one table while other students sat alone,” she said. “It just broke my heart and weighed heavily on me.”
Fontenot, along with cosponsors/teachers Rachel Manuel and Robert Null, began assembling students to form the club. Within four months, 75 students had joined through word of mouth and personal invitations.
“We really just wanted to make S.J. Welsh known for our positivity, friendliness and combatting bullying,” Fontenot said. “The kids are awesome. We have over 1,300 students, and to see them want to consider how other children may feel is a big lesson to us.”
For more on The Great Kindness Challenge, visit