Sandy Hook Promise inspires Start with Hello Week


Bremen recognizes the Sandy Hook Promise during Start with Hello Week.

Jastasha Hudson, Echo Reporter

Students and staff at Bremen High School participated in the Sandy Hook Promise Start With Hello Week held from Sept 27 to Oct 1.

In 2012, Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) was founded by the families of several students and staff who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The organization’s mission is to motivate people of all beliefs and backgrounds who care about the safety and well-being of children to take action in the home and community to stop gun violence and prevent the tragic loss of life. 

Start with Hello Week’s objective is to build empathy within schools by bringing attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation. Thousands of schools across the country participated in the Start With Hello Week.

Bremen social worker Ms. Samantha Cravens planned different activities related to Start With Hello Week that were completed throughout the week at the school. First, students and staff kicked off with Say Hey Day. Members were given name tags in the morning before their second hour to commemorate the start of SHP. “The purpose of the Say Heyday was to encourage students and staff to greet each other by name,” says Ms. Cravens.

Bremen celebrated its weekly T-Shirt Tuesday on Tuesday, but students were encouraged to wear green or orange to support mental health and anti-violence awareness. Bremen High School has been holding T-Shirt Tuesdays’ since 2017, helping students and staff form positive relationships among themselves. 

On T-shirt Tuesday, staff and students alike wear shirts that they believe represent their identity or share essential values. In addition, there are many shirts with inspirational messages or slogans that are related to these passions or causes.

On Wednesday, members opened with Welcoming-Wednesday. Students who participated would wear a smiley face sticker throughout the day so that others could identify them as being interested in making new friendships. In addition, students could say “Hello” to those sitting in lunch alone or walking during the gym period alone to start conversations and make new friendships. 

On Thursday, students participated in “Pay it Forward with a Compliment Day.” “On this day, student leaders passed out 10 Madi Gras beads to each participant. Those participants were encouraged to complement their fellow peers and give them nine out of the ten beads. Then the next person who received the set of beads was to provide a compliment to someone else and give them the eight pack of beads; and so on,” explains Senior Crystal Olsen. 

On Friday, members closed with Fact Friday and the signing of the Sandy Hook Promise. Students hung up signs and messages. For example, “people with mental health issues are generally nonviolent. “Only 3-5% of violent acts can be attributed to people with a severe mental illness.” In addition, student leaders decorated the hallways near the main office and PPS with facts regarding school violence, mental health, and coping mechanisms. 

Overall the Start With Hello Week was a huge success.  It truly set the stage for the positive vibes for the school year at BHS!