Lakeridge MS students participate in first-ever Unity Week

When students at Lakeridge Middle School were asked what kindness meant to them, here’s what they had to say: 

“Kindness means to me going out of your way to help others,” said seventh grader Evan Wilson. 

“Kindness means helping someone out by making their day better,” said eighth grader and ASB president Madilynn Bouton.

Last week, students at Lakeridge Middle School participated in a first-ever Unity Week event to strengthen kindness, empathy and respect at school. 

Unity Week launched on Monday, March 7, with Unity Camp, where students participated in games and activities to boost positive communication and teamwork. 

“The kids were just so happy for all of them to be together,” said Laura Handy-Nimick, leadership teacher at Lakeridge Middle School. 

Throughout the week, students had opportunities to participate in Unity Week events, including sending kindness cards, talks about diversity in school and signing a pledge to make their community kind, empathetic and respectful. Erin Jones, a longtime local educator, spoke to students on Friday about how to bring those traits to school. 

When students were learning remotely because of COVID-19, it was challenging to form a community, Handy-Nimick said. Unity Week helped build one. 

“It was a common shared experience with common and shared language that we haven’t had since COVID,” Handy-Nimick said.

Unity Week was made possible by a grant from the Sumner-Bonney Lake Education Foundation with funding from the Haggen Foundation. Handy-Nimick hopes Unity Week will become an annual event.