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Positivity Project Leaves its Mark

29 March 2021- It is a small piece of wood that encases a piece of graphite. It gets chewed on during a test, and everyone seems to have a lucky one. It costs about $.10, but its impact cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

We are talking about a pencil.

At Hoover High School, a pencil has recently become more than just a pencil.

Towards the end of 2020, a few other teachers got together, and they all knew that once the calendar turned to 2021, the trials of the previous year would not go away.

They wanted to find a way to promote positivity and boost morale. They began calling themselves the Positivity Project and invited others to join, and they eventually started brainstorming ideas. One of the many ideas they came up with was to pass out candy before Valentine's Day. Things went so well, they decided to do something similar in the future.

In the interim, one of the group members, Jennifer McCollum, gave fellow teacher, Amy Tew, a bag of Valentine's Day pencils.

One day, a student came up to Tew and asked if she had a pencil. Without hesitation, she went to the gallon bag filled with them. This continued for several days, eventually leading to other students asking for a writing utensil.

In that short time, this simple act of kindness has drawn up unbelievable things inside Hoover High School, and the Positivity Project is leaving its mark.

Monday morning, as students walked back into the building after Spring Break, they were greeted by members of the group with a pencil and a warm welcome back.

A student receiving a pencil on the way into school

To the committee, it is not about the pencil.

It is the idea of showing students how much they matter and giving them something shiny and new in a world that seems so bleak.

"None of us would be here without the kids, and we want them to know they are valued,” McCollum said. “Kids need to hear that this year. It is not about the pencil. We are excited to let them know how much we care, and if a pencil gives us the chance to make eye contact, great. A pencil is more than just a pencil."

For Tew, the joy she gets of being able to hand a student one of these new pencils is beyond measure. She and McCollum feel it is a simple way of making a connection with students and let them hear someone say yes when the world wants to say no.

"In a world that has turned upside down, you matter,” Tew said. “Here is something new."

The committee hopes to spread positivity like this a couple times a month.