Turlock High School English teacher Daris Kline was given a pleasant surprise on Thursday afternoon when sophomores Alden Norquist and Case Pacheco walked into her classroom to present her with a bouquet of colorful flowers.
Strangely, it was not Kline’s birthday, nor was there any particular reason for celebration.
Rather the two students simply decided to thank their English teacher as part of the high school’s 24 Days of Kindness endeavor, which encourages students to commit at least one random act of kindness each day this month.
“She’s one of my favorite teachers and I actually learn pretty well in that class,” said Norquist.
“She makes English fun, so it’s nice to reward her with a little bit of gratitude,” added Pacheco.
Pricila Fuentes and Erika Contreras, who are both juniors, also performed a random act of kindness on Thursday by helping decorate a banner for former THS student Cody Cornell, who is now in the United States Marine Corps.
“We just wanted to support him and say thank you,” said Fuentes. “This is a great way to spread positivity and it feels really good to do things for others.”
“Especially for the Marines and what they do for us,” added Contreras.
Similar to his peers, sophomore Christopher Fair said that he has already carried out multiple acts of kindness, including providing additional supplies, such as CDs or saxophone reeds, to his classmates when they were in need. He said that his love of helping others is one of the main reasons he wants to join the U.S. Marine Corps.
“I just like giving to others,” said Fair. “It’s just kind of what I do.”
These random acts of kindness are just the beginning of a month dedicated to doing things for others. So far this week, students have complimented strangers, taped change to vending machines, made cards for soldiers and picked up litter.
Throughout the remainder of December, students will engage in even more charitable services, including returning someone’s cart at the grocery store, donating toys to Interact Club, drying slides at the park after it rains, donating books to a library or hospital, doing yard work for a neighbor, donating food to Turlock Together, and paying for a stranger’s coffee.
While Norquist and Pacheco both said that they are looking forward to “candy cane bombing” the parking lot, which will include leaving a holiday treat on every car, Fuentes and Contreras said they cannot wait to make cookies for firefighters.
“They put their lives in danger for us,” said Contreras. “They have a major impact on society and our community and we just want to show them that we appreciate them.”
Although only the month of December has been dedicated to these random acts of kindness, Associated Student Body Coordinator Jennifer Cullum said that she hopes that the students will incorporate this concept into January and beyond.
“Our hope is that the activity will provide opportunities for teachers and students to have conversations about the concepts,” said Cullum. “Hopefully these conversations will be meaningful and life changing. We would like students to see the value of kindness.
“I know it sounds simple but sometimes we do not realize what one kind act can do for someone,” continued Cullum.