Kindness is Contagious at Jack Abrams School

Osprey Award recipients at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.

December 13, 2016

Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School students are taking the character education program there to a new level. One creative sixth grader even developed a “happy thought” club during recess and quickly gained a following of classmates.

Sixth grader Jillian Panos was at recess one day and after some “recess drama” she decided that some of her classmates needed cheering up. “She went about telling jokes and referring to herself as a ‘happy thought therapist,’” Principal Donna Moro said. “When she went home that night she thought it was good idea and decided to start a club.”

With the help of friends Miranda Belissimo and Grace Allen, Ms. Panos started the Happy Thought Club. “These girls put together a book of jokes, stickers and homemade coloring pages as their Happy Thought book,” Ms. Moro said. “Then they set out each day at recess looking for classmates that appeared to be sad, lonely or unhappy. Their mission was to spread happiness!”  

The 100 percent “kid developed” club has caught on. “Other students wanted to get involved making their classmates happy, too,” Ms. Moro said. “The group has grown in size with everyone on the same mission; to spread happiness.”

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Happy Thoughts club members Jillian Panos, Miranda Bellissimo and Grace Allen.

Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School convenes a monthly character education assembly. “We identify a character trait that we feature and we give recognition to one student per class that has done a good job demonstrating that trait throughout the month,” Ms. Moro said.

Ms. Panos, Ms. Belissimo and Ms. Allen joined together to make a presentation about their club during the most recent character education assembly, spreading the word about its mission to students in third, fourth and fifth grades.

“The latest development with the club is a calendar that the girls developed with their classmates,” Ms. Moro said. “It provides a kind or thoughtful suggestion for the day. It is truly uplifting to see kids focused on spreading kindness. These are three very special girls who have dedicated their own free time to helping others. It inspiring to see.”