Dubuque Finalist for "KIND School Challenge"

Some students in Dubuque have received national recognition for their work in the KIND Schools Challenge, a program based on teams of students coming up with ideas to make their schools kinder.

Four eighth-graders from George Washington Middle School were chosen as finalists in the competition.

Close to 200 ideas from across the country were submitted by different groups of students.

Jayda, Lily, Hannah, and Alec are members of a group called "The Kindness Crew," established to best encourage students to spread kindness around the school. The group has come up with an idea they call "The Cycle of Kindness."

It's their goal to search the hallways to find students being kind to one another. If a student earns a card, they will be given instructions on how they can give out kindness cards as well.

The students said their involvement in a leadership program at school led them to submit their idea to the competition.

The goal of their program is to encourage students to think before saying or doing things that are unkind, making the school more inclusive and safe.

"We're all in a group called the Moxie Squad which is like we make lessons for kids here," Jayda said. "So it's like, lessons to be more kind so it kind of was already in our minds."

"We just didn't have obviously the money to make the cards, so we decided since we do [now], why not try it out?" Lily said.

And now through the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the KIND Foundation, their project will be funded.

The students earned a $400 budget for their program. They said they'll use the money to order 2,000 cards to hand out to other students.

They now have to execute their project and provide an "Impact Report" on their results. The winner of the contest will be determined based on the ideas and the submitted results.

"Overall we're just trying to make the school a better place," said Alec.

One of their teachers said the four students, in particular, have proven to be leaders at school, considering how hard they have worked on making this idea become a reality.

"They're always willing to go above and beyond school time to make not just their school but the community a better place,"Amy Mozena, Technology Coach at Washington Middle School said.

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