SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Middle school is a time for lots of learning, whether it be lessons in the classroom or extra curricular activities, there's a lot to take in.
One Springfield school, however, is taking some extra time to focus on a particular life lesson.
Earlier this month, students and staff at Agnes Stewart Middle School celebrated "Be Nice Week," which is a time for staff and students to take extra care to be night to one another. Now, it's an initiative that's starting to grow beyond the walls of the middle school.
It's a celebration that many students and staff at Agnes Stewart are excited about.
The idea for "Be Nice Week"came to fruition last year thanks to Ricci Huling, a teacher at Agnes Stewart Middle School.
"Especially as the year moves on, people get a little bit fatigued, staff included, students included," said Huling. "So, I was really looking for something that might bring more positive behavior and positive school feelings back for the end of the year."
During the week, students and staff wear their "Be Nice" shirts, and are rewarded throughout the week for doing kind things. This year, the school got a little bit of help spreading the kindness from two special guests.
"Our academic adviser asked if we could give some words to the kids for their "Be Kind" week," said Charles Nelson, a former football player for the Oregon Ducks. "We said, 'sure, why not?' Love to give back to the community."
The Ducks spoke with the kids about what it means to be kind, answered questions and signed a few autographs.
"It means a lot, especially being able to use our platform," said Royce Freeman, a former Running Back for the Ducks. "I mean, these kids probably watched us play, probably followed us as we were Ducks. So, just to give back and be able to give them some words and experiences we had means a lot."
The students say that practicing kindness makes it easier for them to focus on their school work.
"It's nice to know that when you come to school, people aren't just going to be blatantly mean to you, especially if they usually are," said Isabella Willis, an 8th grader at Agnes Stewart. "It's just a nice atmosphere to come to school to."
Students say that "Be Nice Week" has also taught them life lessons that they can take into the future.
"I feel like it will remind me more to think about what my actions do and how I respond to other people and just to be kind overall," said Kaylen Pedersen, an 8th grader at Agnes Stewart.
Huling says one other middle school has expressed interest in celebrating "Be Nice Week" with Agnes Stewart Middle School. She says her goal for the initiative is to eventually have every school in the district to celebrate the week together.