Aiming to make a difference

Falls School District encourages students to be positive citizens
by Jeff Pederson


THE SHEBOYGAN FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT’S second annual Make a Difference Week is set to take place March 23-27, During the week, students will be encouraged to become positive citizens and make a difference in their community through simple kind acts. The week will feature several themed dress-up days (top left photo) and Mike McGowan (top right photo) will deliver an inspirational address at all three school buildings on Friday, March 20. - Submitted photo (top left), Falls News file photo by Jeff Pederson (top right) THE SHEBOYGAN FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT’S second annual Make a Difference Week is set to take place March 23-27, During the week, students will be encouraged to become positive citizens and make a difference in their community through simple kind acts. The week will feature several themed dress-up days (top left photo) and Mike McGowan (top right photo) will deliver an inspirational address at all three school buildings on Friday, March 20. - Submitted photo (top left), Falls News file photo by Jeff Pederson (top right) In a society all too often plagued by negative attitudes, self-centeredness and undesirable behavior, the Sheboygan Falls School District is preparing to mount a unified effort to promote the power of kindness, sharing and positivity.

Between Monday, March 23 and Friday, March 27, all students in the Sheboygan Falls School District will participate in the second annual Make a Difference Week, sponsored by the Sheboygan Falls School Counseling Department.


THE SHEBOYGAN FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT is set to hold its second annual Make a Difference Week March 23-27 with a number of special activities planned to help inspire students to become positive citizens and make a difference. The week will feature dress-up days, service learning projects, charitable fundraising campaigns and students will be encouraged to carry out random acts of kindness. The Figureheads, a Milwaukee based hip hop musical act, will perform at Sheboygan Falls Middle School Friday, March 27. - Falls News file photo by Jeff Pederson (top photo), Submitted photo (bottom photo) THE SHEBOYGAN FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT is set to hold its second annual Make a Difference Week March 23-27 with a number of special activities planned to help inspire students to become positive citizens and make a difference. The week will feature dress-up days, service learning projects, charitable fundraising campaigns and students will be encouraged to carry out random acts of kindness. The Figureheads, a Milwaukee based hip hop musical act, will perform at Sheboygan Falls Middle School Friday, March 27. - Falls News file photo by Jeff Pederson (top photo), Submitted photo (bottom photo) The week-long event will feature a wide range of activities designed to encourage students to be positive citizens that make a difference in their school and their community through simple kind acts of service, gratitude, support and friendship.

The theme for this year’s Make a Difference Week is “No Act Too Small.”

The idea for Make a Difference Week was developed last year by the Sheboygan Falls School Counseling Department, comprised of Nikki Humski (elementary school), Britne Stanke (elementary school-middle school), Patrick Uselding (middle school), Janis Jarosch (high school) and Bill Van Dyke (high school) with the inaugural edition proving to be a big success.

“The School Counseling Department wanted to create an all districtwide program and we felt that a Make A Difference Week was a great way to encourage the positive character traits and behaviors that we try to teach our students every day,” Stanke said. “Make a Difference Week is an opportunity for students to think about others and how they can give back and that is one of the key messages the Sheboygan Falls school counselors want students to know.

“Last year was our first year celebrating and facilitating our Make A Difference Week,” she said. “Therefore, I think it was still a new idea and many of our students, staff, and teachers seemed very excited about it. Students participated in the dress up days and we raised a total of $6,853 of donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. Teachers appreciated the week and said that it helped refresh them and reminded them of why they do what they do. Parents and family members supported the cause by helping their children participate in the week’s different activities in different ways. I think it was a wonderful response from everyone involved last year and it was more than what we expected.”

The Make a Difference Week theme will be introduced Friday, March 20 with a special kickoff presentation from motivational speaker Mike McGowan at all three schools .

From March 23-27, individual classes at all three district school will then partake in various opportunities with a focus on kindness, giving back and making a difference.

Special dress-up days will be held at each school with students and staff members encouraged to complete a random act of kindness to reflect the theme of each dressup day.

Monday, March 23 – Brighten Someone’s Day. Wear neon or tiedye to promote brightening someone’s day with kind acts.

Tuesday, March 24 – Hats On to Helping Day. Wear a hat to symbolize the importance of being kind.

Wednesday, March 25 – Helping Others is No Sweat Day. Wear sweats to symbolize helping other people.

Thursday, March 26 – Be a Good Sport and Be The Difference Day. Wear team apparel to reflect displaying good sportsmanship.

Friday, March 27 – Falcon Pride and Make a Difference Day. Wear Falcon apparel to show your school pride and willingness to make a positive difference.

Students at the elementary school will be collecting small personal-care items for military service men and women overseas to help support Operation Gratitude.

“We are collecting—adult socks [black, brown, green or tan], lip balm, individually packaged wet wipes, hand or foot warmers, packets of powdered hot/cold beverage mixes, and encouraging letters or handmade pictures,” Humski said. “Collection boxes will be right in front of the cafeteria for students to deposit their donations.”

Elementary school students will also be encouraged to fill the bucket with random acts of kindness.

“The main premise is that everyone has an invisible bucket that carries feelings about oneself,” Humski said. “When your bucket is full, you feel happy and good about yourself. When you do nice things for others, you fill other people’s buckets and your own too. The main message is that being nice to others is a great way to make a difference in someone’s life and fill your own bucket too.”

Middle school students will pick up trash around the Sheboygan Falls community.

Students at the high school will be holding a food drive for the Sheboygan Falls Food Pantry, which currently has a particular need for donations of cans of tuna/chicken, jars of peanut butter, boxed food, and hygiene items (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste).

SFHS students will also volunteer at several different community agencies in Sheboygan Falls during the week.

In an effort to promote Make a Difference Week throughout the community this year, the Sheboygan Falls School District has reached out to local businesses to help promote and encourage kindness in the community.

“The biggest change for this year was inviting local businesses to join us,” Uselding said. “We want our students to see the importance of a community-wide effort to help one another for the betterment of the community as a whole.

“We are hoping to see the signs we provided to Chamber-Main Street members hanging in the windows of businesses throughout the city during Make a Difference Week,” he said.

The week will wrap-up with an inspirational assembly by the Milwaukee-based hip-hop musical performance group, The Figureheads, in the middle school gym on Friday, March 27, at 9 a.m.

The Figureheads are an award winning musical act and non-profile organization that uses original, positive hip-hop music to engage youth and educators in promoting critical thinking and collaborative skills

“We believe that their upbeat message illustrates the importance education is in making a difference in the lives of our students,” Uselding said.

Stanke says Make a Difference Week stands out among other school counseling initiatives in its unified effort to promote the value of positive behavior, respect and kindness.

“I know that a lot of schools include messages of character building, kindness, and respect through their school counseling programs, but I am not sure of any other school districts specifically that do a weekly district wide program like ours,” Stanke said. “It does stand out as being unique.”

The Sheboygan Falls School Counseling Department stresses that the idea of making a difference in the lives of others should extend beyond one week of the school year and outside of the walls of a school building and into everyday life.


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