Lutie student council participates in Start With Hello week

Lutie High School student council members conducted several anti-bullying initiatives during the Start with Hello week program Sept. 24-27. Pictured from left: back row, Hailey Taylor, Coby Dooley, Jonathon Pettit, Mirah Scott, Madison Reardon, Morgan Smith, Angel Hill, Anastasia Ham. Front row: Eli Morpeth, Haley Kruszewki, Timmy Henderson and Zack Luna. Not pictured: Bailee Amos.

Lutie superintendent Scot Young says it was the suicide of a former student’s teenage son that prompted him to initiate a partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise group and bring the “Start with Hello week” to Lutie School.
“I saw the news on social media, and it was heartbreaking. As a father, I can’t imagine how horrible that would be,” Young told the Times. “I thought to myself, I don’t know what to say. Sorry isn’t enough. Thoughts and prayers are good, but it really doesn’t give a lot of comfort. Then I got an email from the Sandy Hook Promise organization about the Start with Hello week, and I thought, You know, that would be great, something that could really make a difference. So that’s kind of where it sprouted from.”
Young handed off the initiative to Lutie High School student council members, who worked with student council sponsor Mende Thorn and school counselor Sherri Pettit to bring the initiative to life.
Student council members Hailey Taylor, Coby Dooley, Jon Pettit, Mirah Scott, Madison Reardon, Anastacia Hamm, Morgan Smith, Angel Hill, Eli Morpeth, Haley Kruszewski, Timmy Henderson, Bailee Amos and Zack Luna worked with Thorn and Pettit to develop a week’s worth of activities to help students feel included.
Some of the activities student council members implemented included presentations for Lutie Elementary students in kindergarten through eighth grade, using chalk to create positive messages on sidewalks and the parking lot, handing out green cupcakes in honor of Sandy Hook Promise’s official color and distributing lifesavers with nice notes on them to all students in the school.
“Even in a small school like ours, you can walk into a cafeteria and see three or four kids eating by themselves,” Young said. “Sometimes it’s a choice they’ve made, but a lot of times they just don’t have anyone to sit with. By taking on this program, we thought it could help students feel more included. It’s really simple stuff, but it’s difficult to do.”
Young said Lutie teachers have come up with a variety of other kindness-initiative ideas they plan to execute. One idea is to paint encouraging messages in the students’ bathrooms. Another is to create a new set of spirit days focused around creating a culture of inclusion.
“Things like ‘no one eats alone day,’ have such a bigger impact than ‘wear your jeans backwards day.’ I think it’s a great idea, and we want to design our spirit days in that mindset,” he said.

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