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, story after story was revealed about the rough patches this teen had been through and how he turned that pain into pure kindness and compassion for others. But the stories that resonated most with his teacher were the ones about Spencer and the Cheetos. You see, Spencer planned for kindness, and a way to comfort others by carrying Cheetos in his backpack and passing them out to students who were having a tough day, were crying, frowning or just generally wearing their stressors on their faces. He was known to say, “Nobody can be sad when they are eating a bag of Cheetos!”
After Spencer’s funeral, the physics teacher, Lance Bailey, returned to school and covered Spencer’s desk with Cheetos and paper airplanes. Once the students heard the reason for this, they all agreed that the Cheetos would stay on the desk for the remainder of the year to honor Spencer’s memory and his legacy of kindness. Additionally, students brought in more Cheetos until the desk couldn’t hold any more. Mr. Bailey then began hanging them from the ceiling as a reminder that everyone can and should plan for kindness to others. This tradition has not ended. In fact, it has exploded. By the next year, students began stopping by to take Cheetos from the ceiling and pass them on to students they saw struggling. It was their way of simply saying “I care.” Because, who “can be sad when they are 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. Currently, in this 2018-19 school year, 15-20 students are meeting every Friday after school to brainstorm ideas about how to implement kindness within Petoskey High School. 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.
September 28th, Spencer’s birthday and sadly also the anniversary of his passing. This group is in honor and in memory of Spencer. He planned to be kind every day of his life and want to continue his legacy. Spencer was just one kid with a passion to help others. He was just one person, but he has changed the lives of so many with his kindness. His passion to help others and be kind has out lived him. Our goal is to keep his legacy alive, and to never forget how he planned to be kind. He didn’t do it for recognition, in fact nobody knew about all the kind things he was doing until his funeral. So we don’t do this to be noticed, instead we do this because Spencer was the drop that started the ripple of kindness and it is are job to keep that ripple going. But we can’t continue the ripple ourselves, we need help. We ask you to plan to be kind too. To go out and do an extra kind thing, or spend 5 extra minutes helping someone that you normally would have walked past.
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.