Succeeding with the new school wide initiatives

Sarah Rice, Reporter

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We all know that Mechanicsburg is a good place to live. And that the Mechanicsburg community is full of good people. But the success of our little town did not materialize out of thin air- it came from a place of hard work and dedication, values that are upheld each and every day by members of the community. 

Mechanicsburg High School, as a pivotal part of the town’s identity, recently developed a set of school wide initiatives to encourage the same values that make Mechanicsburg so special. Kindness. Empathy. Shared ownership. The little things. These four concepts were only introduced at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, but the staff and student body have already started integrating the initiatives into their everyday life.

To break it down, MASH’s school wide initiatives focus on enhancing all aspects of the community, both individually and as a collective whole. The concepts of kindness and empathy specifically address the more individualized aspects of our community, specifically relationships with ourselves and with others. Showing kindness and compassion not only to others but also to ourselves creates a positive environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves. Various psychological studies support this idea, as experiments from Dartmouth College and Stanford University show that performing, receiving, and even witnessing small acts of kindness increases the production of oxytocin, a feel-good chemical in the brain. When a singular act of kindness can have such a large effect on those involved, it only makes sense to encourage kindness as much as possible.

The second half of the school wide initiatives, which explores the concept of shared ownership and the little things, promotes a sense of community throughout the school. Students and staff alike should be held accountable for the successes and failures of MASH, as the school can be as great as we allow it to be. And this greatness comes from the gradual development of the “little things” into the “big things”. Something that might not seem very important at the moment, such as picking up a piece of trash, actually represents a tiny part of the bigger picture. And if we ignore all of the little things, than there would be no bigger picture of greatness and success.

Between presentations about the new initiatives, posters all around the building promoting acts of kindness, empathy, shared ownership, and the little things, and advisory sessions dedicated solely to the cause, MASH’s faculty has attacked the project head on. “I see stuff about the initiatives everywhere,” says Junior Alicia Elder. “I personally apply them to my academics, but I can see how they are relevant in different situations.” Like Alicia, many students interpret the initiatives in ways that are most relatable or beneficial to their own personal situation.

Regardless of how students personalize and utilize MASH’s school wide initiatives, we can be sure to see kindness, empathy, shared ownership, and “little things” take many different forms throughout the school. And with success within the school, there is no doubt that the same success will trickle into the community. 

Mechanicsburg might be a good place to live; however, it is the people and their attitudes in Mechanicsburg that make it so good.