Prairie students grow tradition of inspiring others

During the week-long Inspire Week tradition, students look for ways to be kind and encourage kindness to others

As a freshman, Kyah Hamsley and the other members of Prairie High School’s student-led Crimson Crew set their sights on a new tradition. Something that would bring positivity and hope to the 1,400 students at their school.

“I remember walking back and forth with a team of people and thinking ‘what are we going to call this thing?’” Hamsley, who is now a senior, recalled. “It has almost felt like watching a kid grow up. We poured so much into this, hoping that students would love it, and here we are just a few years later, and they do.”

Students could write or retrieve inspirational messages from a box near the counseling center at Prairie High School during Inspire Week. Photo courtesy Battle Ground School District
Students could write or retrieve inspirational messages from a box near the counseling center at Prairie High School during Inspire Week. Photo courtesy Battle Ground School District

Inspire Week, as the once-a-semester event has become known, is now part of the school’s Applied Psychology class taught by Dawn Rowe. During the week-long tradition, students look for ways to be kind and encourage kindness to others. “The students come up with all the ideas and then they do it,” Rowe said. “I just coach them along the way.”

School-wide initiatives like Inspire Week and student groups that are focused on instilling a positive school culture are closely aligned with Battle Ground Public School’s emphasis on social-emotional learning. The district seeks to provide safe and healthy learning environments for all students.

This semester’s Inspire Week event at Prairie High School included origami creations for English language learners and ASB students and bracelets handed out with the words “inspire” and “you matter” imprinted on them.

“There are some students who might be struggling,” said Leena Dang, a freshman who has jumped in feet first with Inspire Week. “I hope this helps them feel a little bit more welcome at this school.”

Prairie High School freshman Leena Dang attaches balloons with inspirational messages to cars in the parking lot. Photo courtesy Battle Ground School District
Prairie High School freshman Leena Dang attaches balloons with inspirational messages to cars in the parking lot. Photo courtesy Battle Ground School District

Students spread positivity among staff by delivering flowers to food service employees, painted rocks to classified staff, gift cards and thank you notes to school counselors, and bags of treats with inspirational quotes. 

“I think for the staff to be appreciated for all that they do for us could hopefully make their job seem a little easier,” said sophomore Elinor O’Brien. 

“I love choosing people and believing in them in a big way that makes them feel valued and seen by the student body,” Kyah Hamsley said. “We’re only here for four years, but they’re here for a really long time. I want to be one of the students that passes through here and makes them feel valued and appreciated.”

Rowe called it a “beautiful week.”

“When students are valued, loved and accepted, they want to contribute to creating an atmosphere of light rather than darkness,” Rowe added. “The staff at Prairie encourages a family atmosphere, and hundreds of students took time to thank the staff this week. I am confident that the kindness will continue to flow.”

Information provided by Battle Ground School District.

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