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3/16/18 - Connection Calendar

Following the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students at Frankfort-Schuyler Jr./Sr. High School have embarked on a journey to make their own school a more connected and supportive environment for everyone who walks through its doors.

On February 26, student leaders met with District Superintendent Robert Reina, High School Principal Michael Stalteri, Middle School Principal Molly LiBritz and club advisors to discuss ways they could initiate a positive change in their school.

The students wanted to keep the focus of the building-wide program on improving their own school building and creating a positive impact. “We just want to create a more united and kind school community,” said sophomore Sofia Randazzo.

As a result of that meeting, students developed a 17-day “Connection Calendar” of activities intended to encourage a more connected and supportive school environment. Activities on the “Connection Calendar” are meant to be inclusive of everyone and feature days like Smiles Across the School, Teacher Appreciation Day and Sincere Compliments Day.

Students like senior Chris Millington wanted to take a different approach from what other schools in the area were doing. “We want to reach out, connect with other people and make sure everyone feels like they’re a part of something. We don’t want anyone left out. The whole purpose of this is to make sure that no one is left out.”

Many of the students involved in planning the “Connection Calendar” were already members of the school’s Friends of Rachel Club, a club designed to encourage good deeds and wise actions. The Club, based on Rachel’s Challenge, was inspired by Rachel Scott, the first person to tragically lose their life at the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. The Club’s primary goal, much like the “Connection Calendar” project, is to make a positive difference in and out of school, as well as in the life of every individual.

“Hopefully some people change because of this,” said Millington. “They’ll keep evolving and becoming a better person. That’s how this is going to keep moving forward.”

On March 16, Millington and Randazzo, along with fellow students Kyle Ferguson, Sicilia Randazzo and Isabella Perry, presented the “Connection Calendar” program to the rest of the student body during a series of short presentations in history and government classes. Students were given a list of “Connection Calendar” activities and asked to help create positive change at Frankfort-Schuyler. More than 400 middle school and high school students and staff pledged to join the “Connection Calendar” movement. Each person who joined the “Connection Calendar” movement was invited to sign a poster and given a bracelet to show their unity.

“The bracelets help establish a visible connection between people,” said Ferguson. “People notice they’re wearing the same bracelet and it helps start a conversation to get them engaged with each other.”

The “Connection Calendar” project began on March 19 and will run through April 13 at the Jr./Sr. High School. Students and staff at Frankfort-Schuyler Elementary School also plan to join in on the project with a modified calendar of age-appropriate activities for elementary students. Jr./Sr. High School students created 500 additional bracelets to distribute at the elementary school.

Students are also hoping to see the positive influence of the project spread beyond their school and last well into the future. A number of “Connection Calendar” activities focus on improving the larger community including Family Appreciation Day, Self-Reflection Day and Commit to Volunteering Day.

“I don’t think that change is going to happen right away, but once everyone sees how important staying connected with each other is, they won’t even have to think about it,” said Sicilia Randazzo.

Students are confident that once their classmates, teachers and school staff begin to make these positive efforts for 17 days that the movement will take hold and flourish.

“We’re starting here in the school, but kids are going to go home and tell their families about this and it’s going to grow from there,” remarked Millington. “And hopefully these kids have friends from other schools and they’ll reach out to them and we can start our movement here and it’ll grow. That’s what we’re all hoping happens.”

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