by Becky Millburn, Oak Ridge Respect for Human Differences Committee member
The Oak Ridge Respect for Human Differences Committee was created three years ago with the mission of fostering and promoting self-respect, respect for others, empathy, and recognition of everyone’s individual and equal worth. School-wide initiatives have included Everyone Counts Celebration, Gratitude Week, Project Snowflake, Unequal is Unfair, and Special Needs Awareness Month.
Last June, a new initiative – The Legacy Message Campaign – was introduced as a way for students in grades 6, 7 and 8 to impart “words of wisdom” about the importance of kindness to their younger classmates. And, hopefully as they were preparing to head to STEM and the HS, remind themselves that kindness is a strength; kindness is cool; and kindness is something everyone is capable of expressing.
Mrs. MacPherson’s 6th graders wrote very insightful and touching poems about kindness. Ms. Coronesi’s 8th graders interpreted “What Kindness Looks Like” in simple words and illustrations that could be easily read and understood by the primary grades. And, Mrs. Thomas’ 7th graders shared special memories that reflected on all the goodness that makes Oak Ridge such a warm, wonderful place.
The Respect for Human Differences Committee could not exist without the support, collaboration, and participation of Oak Ridge administration, faculty and staff who daily model and teach the very qualities the Committee promotes.