More than a year ago, a paper tree trunk and branches made from twisted
brown paper was created on the plain cement walls of Wading River School’s
cafeteria. Students, teachers and staff throughout the school were
encouraged to fill out a form when they witnessed a random act of
kindness or wanted to share some inspiring words to one another. The
green leaves were soon filled with colorful and heartfelt messages for
all who walked past to see and admire. The project, spearheaded by now
fourth-grader Madeline Rizzi, was named a kindness tree and was intended
for all to help cultivate kindness.
The project did not stop there.
As the many acts of kindness at the school weighed heavy on the tree,
the taped pieces of paper stopped sticking and the leaves began to fall
to the floor.
In November, Madeline attended a Board of Education meeting, where she
addressed the Board for permission to create a more permanent painted
tree on the cafeteria wall, where only the kind words would need to be
added on paper slips and the painted wall itself can remain in
perpetuity. When Madeline attended the March 12 meeting, she learned
that resolution #1819-249 was her request and her proposal was approved.
The project, which will be headed by a volunteer workforce, will lead
to a new tradition at the school.
“Kindness makes people feel good and special,” said Madeline. “I wanted
to spread kindness in the school and community. I enjoy seeing everyone
being kind to one another.”