From Monday, Sept. 23 to Friday, Sept. 27, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is taking part in “Start With Hello” week, a nationwide initiative which finds different ways to help students feel more involved and appreciated at school.
The initiative, started by the Sandy Hook Promise organization, encourages students to interact with their socially isolated and lonely peers. On Wednesday, Sept. 25, MSD students supported this cause by wearing green, the initiative’s staple color, to school.
“It’s not a huge project but it might mean a lot for someone and if everyone tries their best then a ton of kids will finally have someone they can talk to,” sophomore Hayden Redshaw said.
The theme “WearGreen”, in which students wear green clothing as a way to support their fellow classmates, could be seen across the outfits of many students and faculty. It demonstrates the devotion to helping everyone feel like they are apart of something.
Peer counseling has been the most invested group in this project, with each of its members wearing “Start With Hello” shirts and designing a poster advertising the event in front of the Peer Counseling classroom. Staff members were also given a chance to show their support by purchasing these green shirts.
“We wore green shirts saying ‘Start With Hello’, to show how important it is to make someone’s day better,” sophomore Yali Harnov said.
Since the development of ’Start With Hello”, thousands of schools have used different concepts and themes to express the importance of making others feel included. There are schools where students meet their peers at the front gate and others where kind notes are left for every student.
Wearing green is one of the more popular options to show support for the “Start WIth Hello” program, which led to it being chosen as the staple for MSD’s “Start With Hello” week on Wednesday.
District support school counselor Rachel Kusher has overseen the adoption of this project at MSD.
“We’ve gotten several groups involved like peer counseling all the way to faculty and hopefully the students as well. We hope everyone wore as much green as possible today,” Kusher said.
According to the Sandy Hook Promise website, “this program teaches students to make a difference with their peers in a simple, fun and impactful way.”
“Start With Hello” can be as simple as talking to someone who doesn’t speak much, to sitting next to the person who has no one to sit with at lunch.