Kindness Council Leadership Meeting
With the new format of Cheetos Club becoming “Plan to be Kind,” student leaders at Petoskey High School will be meeting monthly and brainstorming ways that they can lead with empathy and kindness. Leaders within Student Council and National Honor Society will be combining forces to lead and promote positive change in Petoskey High School.
We are organizing a People’s Choice awards evening that teachers nominate students who are demonstrating amazing acts of character throughout the year. In normal circumstances, we would be rolling out the “orange” carpet and having an evening of “Grammy” like fun with music, entertainment and honoring Cheetos worthy students. While some of this is not possible this year, these students are getting a very special video honoring their character and kindness!
Stay-at-home orders may help stop the virus from being spread, but they can’t stop the spread of kindness! One of our biggest initiatives – Birthday Bags – is still in place. Instead of bags, however, we have been sending out packages with large candy bars, so the students who are spending their birthday at home can still receive something from the Cheetos Club. We are continuing to work on other projects, as well, to help those who need it during this time of social distancing.
Members of the Cheetos Club recognized that the Senior Class was missing some special traditions due to COVID-19. One such tradition is Decision Day, where all of the Petoskey High School (PHS) seniors announce their post-secondary plans. Cheetos Club decided to bring Decision Day to Instagram so they could still participate. Any PHS senior can send in their senior picture, their future plans, and their best high school memories to the Petoskey seniors page, and the page puts up a post recognizing them. Check it out by searching petoskey_seniors on Instagram or clicking on the title of this post!
We have met with Petoskey Middle School and Central Elementary and they have established club within their schools to promote kindness. We are hoping to secure more funding for establishing clubs in the remaining schools within Petoskey Public Schools. Additionally, we have clubs that are starting at Rockford Middle School in Rockford, Michigan and in Iowa and Colorado. We hope to continue to share our ideas with others to honor Spencer Tibbits memory on a broader spectrum.
Every student at Petoskey High School will receive a bag full of treats and of course Cheetos on their birthday. This bag is delivered to their 2nd hour teacher who personally gives the bag to the student and wishes them a Happy Birthday. Students then carry these bags throughout the day to each class and many of their classmates wish them Happy Birthday as well.
The Cheetos Club was generously given the keys to all the lockers in the school so we can randomly give treats, cards and surprises to students. Often they open their lockers on Mondays to a “little love” that helps start their week of with a little kindness. We also give students who are struggling or may need a little encouragement some personalized notes and treats in their lockers.
Some Cheetos Club members carry small kits in their backpacks with school supplies, small treats, inspirational quotes and cards for situations that may occur throughout the school day. They are planning to be kind and when situations “happen” they are ready to spread kindness.
New Student Tours
We give new students a welcome bag and tour of Petoskey High School. We also host get togethers and welcome meals to new students so they can get to know people within Petoskey High School. This has helped alleviate some of the anxiety that many new students experience when entering a new school.
The Cheetos Club has set up a Kindness Kloset that is full of cards, small gifts, treats and miscellaneous items that kids can come up get to deliver to kids who are often simply having a bad day. When kids see their fellow students struggling they can then come grab something from the “Kloset” and deliver to the person who needs a little kindness. This kloset has been instrumental in students from the Cheetos Club planning for kindness.
With generous support from the community we were able to get a TV for the front entryway of the school. We use the TV to broadcast birthdays, positive quotes, and upbeat music for a happy start to the day.
This is one of the most powerful ideas that the kids have come up with. The counseling office gives us just a number of students that are really struggling with issues such as suicide, death in family, depression, etc. We then have taken really nice, comfortable blankets and folded them up with all kinds of positive materials inside and students write personal notes to the students. They do not know their names, but write of their own personal struggles. The counseling department then takes these “gifts” and delivers them to the students. We have received some powerful letters back from the recipients.
When members of the community need their spirits lifted, Cheetos Club leaves signs in their lawn reminding them of the people who care.
We have received donations and purchased some of the favorite delicious treats within the Northern Michigan area and on teachers birthdays they receive these treats. We are grateful for many businesses in the community who are joining us in our “Plan to be Kind” mission.
Karen Starkey was a beloved counselor at Petoskey High School. Her husband Dennis Starkey was a hall of game basketball coach here at Petoskey High School. After retiring, Mr. Starkey was in critical condition due to a serious infection. It was a very precarious time for the family. The Cheetos club shared a box of cards and Cheetos with the family and Mrs. Starkey took this box and shared it with the nurses and support staff at the hospital. It brought joy and laughter during a very difficult time. We took her idea and now send boxes with gifts, cards and Cheetos for any student at PHS who are dealing with serious health issues and need to be hospitalized.
We are also working on a plan to take a courtyard in our school that is in extremely bad shape and turn it into a Kindness “Kourtyard” where kids could enjoy some nature, relax on a bench and stop and smell the roses. We are hoping to incorporate a mini outdoor classroom where teachers could take their students to read and write and escape the concrete walls for a breath of fresh air. We also hope to have inspirational quotes and areas for kids to talk throughout the “Kourtyard.”
We went to Camp Daggett with Cheetos Club members and new students who were nominated to join and got to bond together as group. We know we have to be kind to ourselves and others within our group before we can go out and be kind to other people too. We also spent our time there volunteering to give back to camp Daggett. After that we broke into groups and spent our time planning how we can be kind in this new year.
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.