About Cheetos Club
Plan To Be Kind
In today’s teen culture where you hear so much about bullying and the destructive, dangerous activities that they are involved in, we want to showcase a totally different high school environment. This story is about a teen who made a difference in his short life -a teen, who even in his death, is touching the lives of others, teen and adults alike, through Cheetos!
Petoskey High School is a Northern Michigan school on beautiful Little Traverse Bay. Back in the fall of 2014, there was an unassuming, but confident, young man named Spencer Tibbits who established a special connection with his physics teacher. The fact that their birthdays were one day apart is what originally drew them to one another, but their love of physics was the tie that bound them. Unfortunately, that connection would not continue long as Spencer died in a tragic car accident on his birthday, September 28, 2014. The school was in shock, as was this teacher, who recognized that Spencer was one of those special kids!
At Spencer’s funeral, many stories were shared about his kindness to others, and before long, it was evident that Spencer touched many lives around him. He never told stories or bragged about being kind, so it was eye opening to see how many lives he had actually impacted. One story that resonated most with his teacher (Mr. Bailey) involved a bag of Cheetos. One day Spencer was walking in the halls and saw a student sitting on the ground crying. He went up to that student, sat down, and handed over his bag of Cheetos he had that day for lunch and said “Nobody can be sad when they are eating a bag of Cheetos.”
After Spencer’s funeral, Mr. Bailey, the physics teacher, returned to school. There had recently been a paper airplane competition in which Spencer participated and also helped other students; students started covering his desk in paper airplanes, and Mr. Bailey hung a bag of Cheetos from his ceiling in remembrance of that moment that resonated so much with him. Now, whenever students ask about the bag of Cheetos hanging from the ceiling, he tells the story of how Spencer brought kindness to another student. That act of kindness Spencer showed that day has not ended as a memory, but exploded into a movement to spread kindness throughout Petoskey High School and beyond. Mr. Bailey started keeping Cheetos in his room to for students to hand out to fellow student they saw upset or struggling. It was a simple act of kindness that showed someone upset or struggling that someone cares about them, because “you can’t be sad when you’re eating a bag of Cheetos.”
At the end of the 15-16 school year, Mr. Bailey was asked to deliver the commencement address. A portion of his speech included Spencer’s Cheetos story. The 2017-18 school year saw the continued and expanded interest in the Cheetos approach to kindness. That is where the idea for the “Cheetos Club” was born. In the 2018-19 school year, 15-20 students began meeting every Friday after school to brainstorm ideas about how to implement kindness within Petoskey High School, and the club has continued to grow ever since. Students have begun to open their eyes to being kind and planning for being kind, which takes so much courage and confidence. They are recruiting other kids to “join” the “Cheetos Club.” This is a very informal group, loosely structured with no chosen leaders – just an assembly of kids concerned for others. It’s teens interested in honoring the memory of “one of their own” and keeping the legacy of kindness alive.
Too change the culture of a school is not easy, but these wonderful students, with their beautiful hearts, are working at it one Cheetos bag at a time.
Spencer was born in Petoskey, Michigan on September 28th, 1997. Spencer has always been an exceptionally caring and kind person, even from a very young age. He loved the outdoors, animals, watching movies, playing video games, cooking, and being kind. It sounds cliché to say that being kind is something that someone loves to do, but for Spencer, it was true. He genuinely loved making people happy and being nice to them. The type of kind that plays a video game that his brother loves and loses every single time, even though he could easily beat him with little effort. He enjoyed spoiling his sisters, playing video games with his brother, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying nature. When he grew up he wanted to get “a job that helped people. I want to help people, I don’t really care how much money I make.” On September 28th, 2014, Spencer’s 17th birthday, he tragically lost his life in a car accident. This club is in remembrance of his kindness to those around him, and the impact that such a small act of kindness can have on someone. Through little acts of kindness like a bag of Cheetos, we can all make this world a better place, and further Spencer’s goal of helping people, one small act of kindness at a time.
Kindness doesn’t need to cost money; however, by donating it helps us go beyond. It helps us be able to pass out Cheetos to the students crying in the hallway. It helps us afford providing treats for the school janitors because we know they do not get enough thanks for all they do. It helps us give the entire school a treat before exams to encourage them on a stressful day. Please visit our Donation page for ways you can help contribute to this amazing cause.
Remember to plan to be kind today!
Cheetos Club was inspired by the kindness of Spencer Tibbits. Spencer was a student at Petoskey High School in Northern Michigan who quietly looked for ways to empathize and show kindness to students going through rough times. The extent of his example was not truly realized until his death on his 17th birthday. One story of Spencer’s kindness that has really resonated with students is a time he consoled a struggling student simply by taking a bag of Cheetos from his backpack and telling the student, “Nobody can be sad while eating Cheetos.” The Cheetos Club is a group of students who carry out acts of kindness in his honor by “Planning To Be Kind.”
Cheetos Club is not affiliated with Cheetos or Frito Lay.
Cheetos Club has been granted limited permission to use the Cheetos name and logo by Frito Lay.