As Christians, we know that the framework for living a life of holiness lies within the Word of our Lord. In the following passage from Galatians 5:22-23, we are provided a compendium of virtues that will guide our path toward the gift of eternal life. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. One of the true blessings of our Catholic school is our ability to use these virtues as a structure for fostering an environment where our children learn to examine all that fills our lives through a lens of faith.
While their many ways in which this is accomplished, one of our recently formed club activities has been built upon the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Our OPAK (Outstanding, Positive and Kind) Club, led by Mary Sites, began this fall and proudly boasts of having well over 60 members from all grade levels.
The mission statement for OPAK is as follows:
To show every student at St. Agnes that he or she can really make a difference by working together in a caring and kind way, so as to spread kindness throughout our school community. To be Outstanding, Positive and Kind and to be the best you can be, each and every day.
Some of the goals of OPAK are to: promote kindness and to make a difference within our school community; lead a Unity Day (a bullying prevention event); partner with the Officer Friendly Program; and to promote the expectations of our PBIS program. With these objectives in mind, on Wednesday, October 23, our students were invited to wear the color Orange as a visible representation of the supportive, universal message that our society wants to unite for kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Unity Day is a national event and is held every year on the third Wednesday of National Bullying Prevention Month in October. The goal of the day is to bring awareness across the nation to emphasize the message that unkind behavior is not acceptable and that all students deserve to feel safe and accepted in school, online, and within the community.
On Unity Day, our OPAK Club members received a heart pin for their commitment to being leaders for kindness. As an important statement of affirmation to their commitment, each student in the club and throughout the school was asked to sign a Pledge Against Bullying. Moreover, all classes were asked to complete the activity called: Above the Line - Below the Line. This discussion based activity helped the students visualize a deeper understand of the concept of above the line versus below the line behaviors and to create a “heart chart” where such behaviors were noted. And in doing so, our students would make a commitment to promoting above the line behaviors at our school and within their community.
In a school whose purpose is to form students of virtue in heart, soul and mind; it is activities such as Unity Day which allow us to help our young people to become the face of Christ to others as they put the Fruits of the Holy Spirit into action. We are truly blessed!