Middle school students ‘act out’ in best way possible


Maya P.

Accumulating several selfless selfies over the month of March, social studies teacher Lisa Bales posted them outside her room at the beginning of April. Each student was given a list of ideas for random acts of kindness to choose from or they could think of their own.

Maya P., Co-Editor

Have you found some extra coins in the drink machine lately? Maybe you’ve seen some uplifting notes taped to bathroom mirrors or witnessed someone receiving a flower in the parking lot. The source of these random acts of kindness: David City Middle School’s own students.

While given the name random acts of kindness, these expressions aren’t as out of the blue as you’d think.

For the past year, DCMS has completed one community service project each month. This last month, students were given the task of committing random acts of kindness within their community, and then taking a “selfless selfie” as proof. The selfies taken were recently posted on a bulletin board on the wall outside of social studies teacher Lisa Bales’s classroom. Bales is the mastermind behind the project.

“It’s hard to do a community service project with a hundred kids all the time, especially in the winter when we can’t get outside. I’m always trying to think of ideas that they could do independently but still have a positive impact on the community,” Bales said.

Bales credits the inspiration for the project to the book, “Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome.” The book features one of Bales’s favorite public figures and Internet celebrity, Kid President. It lists several different ways in which you can brighten someone’s day, which Bales took advantage of when coming up with ideas for random acts.

With a deadline of April 3, students were armed with an arsenal of random act opportunities to consider. While some simply wrote a note to their best friend, others went beyond the norm.

“Originally, I was going to give flowers to my old neighbor, but she wasn’t at work. So, we went to Hy-Vee and went up to a person in the parking lot and gave her the flower,” eighth grader Katie T. said. “She was really proud that I’m helping people, and she was really excited that she was going to be able to keep the flower.”

Katie’s selfie was one of the first to be posted to the “selfless selfie” board. Since then, several others have been placed beside hers. Students emailed their selfies to either Bales or assistant principal Chad Fuller. Each selfless act gained points for the student’s respective house.

For some, their acts of kindness went beyond the point reward.

Eighth grader Julia M. gave a homemade strawberry cheesecake to special education teacher Amanda Novak.

“There were a bunch of ideas that I had, but there was one teacher that was my favorite. I wanted to make [Mrs. Novak] feel special, so I made something from the heart,” Julia said. “Not a lot of people in the world get noticed, and showing that you care about someone shows other people, so they might want to help other people, too.”

Several others participated in the project, but only about one-third of the middle school students completed the task. Bales said that she understands that students might not be comfortable with the project yet, but hopes that as years go by it’ll get easier.

“It’s important to be good to other people because it can spread,” Katie said. “It’ll just grow and grow until one day, we don’t have to worry about being mean to people.”