Members of iCARE stand with posters of their core values, including Integrity, Community and Empathy.
Photo by Zan Strumfeld.
continued The core iCARE group is made up of about 12 students, and several said they were all affected by the tragedy in their own way.
“My initial thought was, I have a younger brother, he just turned 6 in January,” Neal said. “I was thinking that could’ve been him. I couldn’t imagine my life without my brother. I couldn’t imagine how the families in Connecticut could’ve felt.”
So far, the acts of kindness, and the scope of the Newtown tragedy itself, have brought a sense of unity to the school.
“It was definitely really close to home for everybody. Those kids are students, we’re students. So we’re the same,” Tenny said through tears. “It could happy to anybody. Kids are supposed to think they’re invincible. Kids even as old as us, we’re supposed to think we’re invincible. Kids aren’t supposed to die.”
The club has had several other campaigns, including selling blue and green ribbons in honor of the victims in the December Shenendehowa/Shaker high school Northway crash. The $400 in proceeds went to a scholarship in the victims’ honor. The also group asked high school students to write letters to fourth graders about advice for transitioning to the middle and high schools. Come Memorial Day, they are planning another campaign to honor fallen veterans.
The club hosts movie nights throughout the school year, featuring movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “Mean Girls” that focus on some of the social troubles in high school.
With the school’s 26 acts of kindness campaign drawing to an end, the iCARE club is hoping other schools will catch on and adopt a similar program.
“Even when we stop giving out ribbons, the kindness act should still carry on,” said Barry Betz, a 15-year-old freshman in the club.