Project Choose Kind — a nationwide initiative of kindness and tolerance highlighted in the movie Wonder — came to Seaford Manor Elementary School in the form of colorful inspirational messages.
On May 19, about 20 volunteers including current and former Seaford Manor parents, an art teacher, grandmother and four high school students, spent hours painting the boys and girls bathrooms in the third- through fifth-grade wing.
Messages of encouragement included “Believe in yourself,” “Be the reason someone smiles,” and “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.”
When school opened the following Monday, students in grades 3-5 were given a chance to tour the bathrooms and see the messages. Principal Debra Emmerich said that Choose Kind supports the school’s growth mindset initiative, in which students are encouraged to adopt an
“I Can” mentality and to support each other in an effort to create a positive school culture. Emmerich shares a different inspirational message with students every week.
The project was spearheaded by PTA Vice President Donna Jebaily, and inspired by a group of parents in Arlington, Texas, who painted uplifting messages in the student bathrooms of an elementary school there.
“We want to inspire the children, make them feel good about themselves and make them feel good about others,” Jebaily said. “Seaford should be known as a ‘Choose Kind’ town.”
Emmerich said the fifth-graders can use those inspirational messages to create a mindset that will help them succeed in middle school and beyond.
The movie Wonder introduced this quote by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer: “If you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”
The volunteers who brought the kindness project to Manor were: Donna Jebaily, Dana Ettinger, Corinne Graff, Ciara Graff, Migena Hysa, Christine Tuohy, Tara Raimondi, Amanda Davidson, Jen Cavalluzzo, Jessica Kranis, Lacey Redlefsen, Jess Schlitter, Lisa Lent, Kathleen Dyckman, Barbara Gnemmi, Jamie La Sota, Kendall Lowinger, Tiffany Lin, Kimberly Draws and Drew Zuckerman.