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Spreading Kindness: No Negative November celebrated across PNGISD

PORT NECHES — Principals and administrators across the Port Neches-Groves elementary campuses attended the annual Grow Leadership Conference in early November.

The conference included hearing from guest speakers, finding ways to enrich programs and engaging in workshops for better teaching.

During one of these sessions is when Staci Gary, principal at Taft Elementary in Port Neches, formed the idea for No Negative November.

“I wanted to do something to start making connections with other campuses in the district,” she said. “Especially since we passed the bond we’ll be moving together and learning together. We knew it was World Kindness Week Nov. 11-15 and sometimes the stress of the upcoming holidays can put a strain on people, so this was the perfect time to implement it.”

Gary said No Negative November centers around encouraging students and staff to think positively, find the good in every day and promote kindness across the community.

“During Kindness Week we put out a challenge across the district, which is entirely voluntary and there’s a daily initiative each day,” she said.

“Monday was ‘make it a point to have kind and positive conversations during breakfast, lunch or dinner.’ We had ‘tell them Tuesday’ to encourage people to tell their peers why they are appreciated across their campus.

Students from Woodcrest Elementary in Port Neches participated in World Kindness and No Negative November Wednesday morning by handing out gift bags and candy to the Port Neches-Groves administration team. Middle row: pictured from left to right, Makenna Mihalk, Ryder Smith, Ian Laing, Zoe Guerrero, August Myers and Chandler Hollier dropped off bags to assistant superintendent Julie Gauthier and librarian Dana Larue. (Courtesy photo)

“Wednesday was ‘leave someone an anonymous gift.’ (Today) is ‘thank you Thursday’ and Friday is ‘friendly Friday,’ encouraging people to talk to someone new. It’s just different ways to get everyone out of their comfort zone and make someone feel appreciated and loved.”

Gary said she has been blown away by how quickly the initiative has spread.

“We reached out to one or two people in each building across the district and challenged them to pass it to at least one other person on their campus,” she said. “I know Groves Elementary took the challenge and decided to task their kiddos to bring at least one article of clothing to give to kids in need. They are trying to get 400 clothing items to donate to kids who need it this holiday season.”

Students from Woodcrest Elementary also visited the administration building, public library, police station, city hall and post office Wednesday morning to drop off gifts and chocolates for World Kindness Day.

“It’s been absolutely amazing,” Woodcrest Principal Angela Abel said. “It’s making an impact from doing a simple kindness. We’ve posted the hash tag in our office and the teachers are coming by and touching the sign and pointing at the sign for support.”

Abel said it was important to see her students and teachers so excited to spread the joy.

“We try to support each other across the district,” she said. “So when (Taft) brought this challenge over we wanted to hop on board. It just ties hand and hand with being thankful this month. The more people that seize the initiative, the more it will ripple.”

Gary said to view all the photos and posts during World Kindness Week search for the hash tag No Negative November or visit the districts social media pages.

“It’s very heart warming to see that we have a uniformed appreciation across the district,” she said. “This week has been all about building relationship activity here on the campus and building relationships with people across the district as well. You never know what connections you may make.”