CHS Appreciates Random Acts of Kindess


Photo By Emily Wang

Junior Nick Mason demonstrates his appreciation for his friend who helped him run again.

By Emily Wang, Online Arts Editor

Some students think kindness is the act of showing extravagant gestures or gifts for someone, but sometimes it is the little things that one person does for another, stemming from feelings of compassion, that exemplify the true meaning of kindness.
“The more we perform random acts of kindness, the more connected our society will be,” Modern World History and Psychology teacher Evan Rosenthal said. “For example, our school can be fragmented sometimes, and acts of kindness can bring it together.”
Random Acts of Kindness Day, which was originally a holiday only celebrated in New Zealand, is now celebrated around the world on Feb. 17. As the name implies, this holiday is meant to encourage acts of kindness in the community, locally and worldwide.
“I think random acts of kindness make us stop and appreciate the simple things in life,” AP Psychology and Sociology teacher Kate Blanken said. “It’s the simple things that are beautiful, and help us manage the tough days.”
With the ever relentless pace of technological development and the increasing addiction to smartphones and social media, some fear that our tech-culture is preventing people from physically interacting with one another.
“I see little groups of students sitting together at lunch and not talking to each other,” AP Art History and ceramics teacher Paul Dermont said. “Things can be done anonymously, and that takes the empathy away. It’s easier to send a pointed email than doing it in person.”
Though “liking” a photo or “retweeting” an online post may seem like an appropriate substitute for a physical display of compassion, they are not the same. Interacting via electronics may be convenient and hassle-free, but according to Dermont, electronic communication takes away the human connection and empathy.
“You might think you’re doing something so insignificant, like just picking up an eraser for someone who dropped it, but it means a lot that you made that effort even when you really didn’t have to,” senior Julia Wang said.
In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Day, students and faculty shared acts of kindness others have done for them:
Junior Nick Mason:
For Mason, the act of kindness that impacted him happened last year after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his tibia and couldn’t perform in the county track meet.
“Just a few days before the county race, a dear friend of mine, [senior] Alex Conway, expressed great kindness to me,” Mason said. “She was sad that my season had suddenly been cut short and I wouldn’t be able to run in the last race of the season.”
Conway had recently suffered an injury herself, yet she spent her time helping Mason stay fit by doing exercises with him that did not involve putting weight on his legs. Despite only being able to attend the last meet of the season after recovering from her injury, she managed to run a personal best.
According to Mason, not only did her compassion aid him through his injury, but her recovery inspired him to overcome his own injury and return to running the following year.
Evan Rosenthal:
“The random act of kindness that I experienced was when I was in my first year of teaching and I got in a car accident,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal had partly ruptured his Achilles tendon in the accident and was forced to stay out of school for a couple of days.
According to Rosenthal, when he returned, he found that a couple of students had made a banner to support him and hung it in his room.
“I think that as a teacher, sometimes we do not know if the students appreciate what happens on a daily basis, but when I saw the banner, I knew that the students cared about me as a person,” Rosenthal said.
Paul Dermont:
“We were away for the weekend for the big snow storm and our neighbors knew that the longer the snow sits, the harder it gets to shovel,” Dermont said. “So as they were shoveling, they not only did their car, but also dug ours, a path to the house and the sidewalks.”
This act of kindness prompted Dermont to return the gesture. One act of kindness sparked another, as Dermont demonstrated just how much a simple act of kindness can affect a community.
“The day after [the snowstorm], everybody got together to work together to shovel an entire block,” Dermont said. “By people doing these acts of kindness, I was willing to jump in and help.”
Kate Blanken:
“When I was sick last year and stuck at home for two weeks, I had a few friends who took turns bringing me home-cooked meals,” Blanken said. “It was so surprising and delicious.”
The simple gesture of bringing home-cooked meals not only spared her the effort getting out of bed to cook, but it also uplifted her and made her grateful for their care.
Brendan Roddy:
Resource and ceramics teacher Brendan Roddy still remembers when an act of kindness was shown to him.
While on the way back to college, after feeling a little homesick, Roddy discovered that his Bay Bridge toll had been paid for by the person driving in front of him.
“It was a very simple thing but made a huge difference to me and my idea of paying it forward,” Roddy said.
In return, when he was driving over the bridge, either on the way to college or to the beach, he would pay for the car behind him.
Sophomore Ray Pasco:
On a two-hour delay school day, an upperclassman offered Pasco a ride to school so he would not have to shiver in the cold while waiting at his bus stop in the morning.
According to Pasco, he managed to get help on an assignment, get an A, and, most importantly, remain dry for the rest of the day, setting him off on the “right foot.”
Senior Julia Wang:
Wang cannot choose one act of kindness that impacted her the most because each act is important in its own right.
One such act was when she and her boyfriend entered a parking lot and a stranger offered up his spot with the meter filled.
Another act of kindness came from one of her old friends.
“She texts me almost every two months or so just to say ‘hi’ and that she misses me, or that I’m important and to keep my chin up–all these really positive things that lift my mood and just let me know she’s thinking about me,” Wang said.“Kindness is contagious because after those events, I’d smile at strangers on the street and hold doors open for strangers that were far away from the door, or let someone into my lane,” Wang said.
One act of kindness leads to another, so be kind to those around you on not only Random Acts of Kindness Day but every other day of the year.