Kindness blossoms at KFHS

Published 11:40 pm Friday, November 16, 2012

At King’s Fork High School Thursday — Random Acts of Kindness Day — Joseph Ledbetter reads to Christina Archer and Verona Jiggetts. Ledbetter said he thought it was be a nice thing to do.

On Thursday afternoon, King’s Fork High School junior Joseph Ledbetter read “The Lion King” to two students in special needs teacher Karen Frazer’s class.

No one asked him to — Ledbetter just thought it would be a nice gesture. Christina Archer and Verona Jiggetts appreciated it.

Meanwhile, on the same day, Sonora Curliss dropped her books on the way to class. “A lot of people helped me pick them up,” Curliss said.

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“There was a girl who needed help in class, and I helped her in math,” the ninth-grader added.

Curliss also received a carnation, as did Archer, Jiggetts and many other students and faculty members, during the school’s Random Acts of Kindness Day.

“We build characters, we don’t only teach academics,” said English inclusion teacher Jarilynn Bergland, who organized the special day with teacher assistant Andrae Riddick. “This is just one of the exercises we do to build character.”

Norfolk Wholesale Floral supplied the carnations that were spread around the school, Chick-fil-A donated 150 sandwich coupons, and Pepsis were handed out to custodial staff, Bergland said.

“I went to a couple of classrooms and just the fact that someone took the time to give them something, they were very happy and really appreciative,” she said.

The act of kindness that Bergland said impressed her the most occurred in the cafeteria.

“The two oldest women, one 81 and the other in her 70s, were given carnations. They were very appreciative that we took the time out to give them a carnation and say ‘thank you.’”

“I know I spoke with a teacher … (who) said … ‘I got a flower today,’” Riddick said. “The small things, they make such a great impact.”

Random Acts of Kindness Day was sponsored by PEP-C. It stands for Peers Ending Peer Conflict, a program that has been running at King’s Fork High since last year.

Students, trained in conflict resolution and mediation, help peers resolve issues in a constructive manner, Bergland explained.

The student mediators “listen to conflicts that students are having.” The mediators don’t “come up with the answers” themselves, Bergland said, but “help the students involved come up with mutual agreements so that they can respond to each other in a responsible manner.”

This year, the program has been in effect since Oct. 22, and four mediations have taken place, all successful, Bergland said.

“Last year we started in January and had probably about 18, (of which) 99 percent were successful. Only one student got up and said, ‘I don’t want to do this.’”