GENOA – Students and staff at Genoa-Kingston High School finished their first Start With Hello spirit week with a lip-sync performance for the ages.
Tara Wilkins, librarian for the high school and one of the event’s organizers, said the concept for the week was developed by parents of the Sandy Hook shooting victims and is meant to help end social isolation among students. She said the goal is to open the event up to members of the public outside of the school for next year’s Start With Hello week.
“Our goal is to unite this community and to let the kids know that you’re never alone, no matter where you go,” Wilkins said.
The week’s events included random acts of kindness Monday, an anti-bullying presentation Tuesday, wearing whatever makes students feel most like themselves Wednesday and a closing assembly featuring games and competitions between students and faculty Thursday. The assembly events included a game of “Hungry, Hungry Humans” using scooters and laundry baskets to get as many balls as possible and a lip-sync battle that ended with a schoolwide sing-along of John Denver’s 1971 hit song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
Wilkins said the week was supposed to take place in September, but school officials didn’t want to hold the event for the first time in tandem with the school’s homecoming festivities. She said she thinks the week went well for it being the first and that students took the week’s lessons to heart.
“It’s just about reaching out and no one feels invisible, and you can combat it by just saying hello,” Wilkins said. “It’s that simple.”
Alexandra Jerbi, a senior, said there still are a lot of people at school who don’t realize that many of their peers often feel as though they don’t fit in. More events encouraging students to relate to one another could help in the long run, she said.
“If we do more things like this, it would impact it a lot more,” Jerbi said.
Plus, Jerbi said, it was really fun to rush the gym floor and jam out with all of her schoolmates.
“That’s probably the best thing I’ve ever experienced,” Jerbi said.