Oh look, what’s this colourful Post-it note doing on my lock-
“If you were a booger, I’d pick you first.”
It was Spirit Week at MGCI; the theme for the week beginning 9 December was “Random Acts of Kindness”, and random it was. Events of the week included free hugs in the cafeteria, handmade flowers passed out by the Spirit Committee, and posters offering tear away smiles. In addition the Muslim Student Association volunteered to help teachers with attendance and caretakers clean up the cafeteria, and the Mental Health Initiative made plans to give holiday cards to people in shelters.
First things first: I am not an authority on kindness, and anybody who is reading this should know that I have never once been considered clement, solicitous, or magnanimous. Such is my utter lack of experience with kindness that I had to Google the usage of all three of the above words. My reaction to the prospect of encouraging students at Garneau to be kind to each other, then, was one of skepticism.
However, the Spirit Committee’s original plan seemed attainable enough: capture photos and videos of students and clubs performing random acts of kindness in school and around the community, then submit a video compilation to the Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament with hopes of winning in the short video category (because apparently in our day and age, “random acts of kindness” are both premeditated and incentivized). The Spirit Committee sent an email in November asking club executives to participate by engaging in their own random acts of kindness in the first Spirit Week of the year and recording them. Unfortunately, only five clubs out of the dozens in our school agreed to participate in the event, and our Spirit Convenor holds executive positions in three of these five. Perhaps awareness among students would have been higher had posters been put up in the halls, or e-mails been sent to more students than just club executives, or even if there was more of a push to have the clubs participate in the first place. After all, when less than half of the student population knows about a School Spirit Week, something needs to change.
Let me clarify something: kindness is good. Actually, it’s great. But we can’t be satisfied with sticking a Post-it to someone’s locker and thinking that we have connected. Spirit Convenor Khadija Aziz commented that, “the free hugs really connected the student body with Student Council – which is great because we want everybody to know we’re there for them.” It’s not in question whether this past week has put a smile on student’s faces. The problem is that spirit is not derived from passively reading a sticky note, but rather from active participation amongst the entire student body.
Khadija has stated that when only a small number of clubs agreed to participate in the week, the event was no longer to be classified as a “formal” Spirit Week. But a better approach than simply back-pedalling and declaring the week “informal” would be to more actively communicate and engage clubs and the student body. That said, it’s not too late to show your spirit this school year; the Spirit Committee has said that they’re planning to host another, larger Spirit Week in second semester. Here’s hoping that next time, the student population will be better informed ahead of time, and we come out of that week with more than just Post-it note littered floors. Let’s show some heart, Garneau, because it is a sad day when what could have been a successful Spirit Week is demoted before it has even begun.