A sprinkle of happiness

Park View Elementary School students, faculty, parents deliver some signs of joy

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Banner Staff Writer
Posted 5/19/16

The students, faculty and parents of Park View Elementary School recently took it upon themselves to “sprinkle Bradley County with happiness.”

Standing along school driveways decked out in …

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A sprinkle of happiness

Park View Elementary School students, faculty, parents deliver some signs of joy

Posted

The students, faculty and parents of Park View Elementary School recently took it upon themselves to “sprinkle Bradley County with happiness.”

Standing along school driveways decked out in yellow T-shirts Tuesday, they held up signs sharing a variety of encouraging messages, ranging from “You Are Beautiful” to “You Are Enough.”

They had chosen to participate in the Happiness Sprinkling Project, a national campaign to spread positivity with a traveling set of signs. It was the first time the project had made its way to Cleveland.

“We want to encourage everybody in our community,” Principal Jodie Grannan said before the group began. “If this can just put a smile on somebody’s face, then it will all be worth it.”

Students from the school’s Junior Beta Club and the “Noble Knights,” a group of students who volunteer to be hosts and helpers at school events, were given the opportunity to sign up for the optional activity.

During one of Park View’s in-school morning show broadcasts, students were shown a video explaining the Happiness Sprinkling Project and read a children’s book based on it which teaches children they each have a “super power” of being able to share happiness with others.

Park View guidance counselor Shannon Nelson said she liked the idea of the project because she saw its potential for teaching students the importance of making others smile.

“I don’t think we do enough about spreading cheer and happiness to people,” Nelson said.

In an effort to change that, the school representatives “sprinkled happiness” by displaying the signs, smiling and waving to passing motorists outside the school during the afternoon pick-up time.

Many playfully honked their vehicles’ horns at the happy group. Much to some of the giggling students’ delight, some of the school bus drivers even joined in on the fun.

After everyone had been dismissed from Park View, the group traveled to the other side of town. The children and adults held signs and waved while standing along the driveway off South Lee Highway which lies between Bradley Central High School and the Bradley County Schools central office.

Like the ones at Park View had, motorists going to and from Bradley Central waved and honked when they saw the group and the positive messages.

Seeing a bunch of people gathering with signs outside their building, some curious central office staff streamed outside to see what was happening.

Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash and several other county school system employees eagerly greeted the group, and some even spent a few minutes standing and waving with them.

“I’m proud of them for taking initiative and for spreading happiness,” Cash said. “What a great way for the kids to end the year!” 

Grannan explained she had learned about the Happiness Sprinkling Project from a presenter at a Tennessee School Counselor Association conference earlier in the school year.

As the children continued to hold their signs and wave, some of the adults could be heard talking about other ways schools can help encourage members of the community or spur them to support positive efforts like reading.

Still, Grannan stressed the only motive behind this display was to teach children that they can play a part in brightening someone’s day.

“No matter the circumstance, you can share a smile,” Nelson added. “A lot of these kids don’t have a lot to give, but they can always give a smile.”

Students smiled and laughed as they displayed signs with instructions like “Be You,” “Go For Peace” and “Tell Them You Love Them,” along with statements like “Life Is Good” and affirmations like “You Rock!”

One grandfather accompanying the children and their teachers quipped that the scene “reminds [him] of the 1970s.” Though the peace-and-love message may not be a new one, school officials said the world today could always use more positivity.

“It’s meant to be encouraging, and it’s supposed to encourage everybody to come together,” Grannan said.

That was the idea behind the national effort. The Happiness Sprinkling Project was started by Laura Lavigne, a woman who wanted to see more positivity in her town.

On May 22, 2012, a group equipped with signs bearing happy words set up near an intersection in Anacortes, Wash., which had become known as a common site for contentious political protests.

More permanent signs were later made, and those signs are now shipped all over the country to those wishing to host their own “happiness sprinklings.” The signs displayed by the Park View representatives bore on their backs signatures from past participants from places as far off as New York and Las Vegas.

For more information on the project, visit http://www.happinesssprinklingproject.org.

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