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Character Education: The Spirit of Believing


 “The spirit of believing” is the message that the K-2 students at Mechanicville Elementary School learned about and demonstrated at their December Character Education Program. This month’s program highlighted and encouraged students to demonstrate “kindness and compassion.”

At this time of year, we are all asked to believe in things that seem impossible. New kindergarten special education teacher Dawn Alvarez, inspired students K-5 to participate in the Macy’s Believe Campaign. Students were asked to write as many letters to Santa as possible to help grant wishes for kids with serious illnesses. These letters were not only wishes for themselves, but for other children who are in need of some “feel good medicine,” as it was referred to by Mr. William C. Trigg, Chief Executive Officer of Make-A-Wish Northeast New York. Mr. Trigg was invited to the morning program by Mrs. Alvarez to accept the letters written on behalf of MES. He explained that this “feel good medicine” comes from the kindness and compassion of others and from the Make-A-Wish Foundation whom donates $1 for each letter received, up to $1 million.

Mr. Trigg explained how much these letters and the donations from Macy’s mean to children who have illnesses that prevent them from enjoying life’s little moments each day. Mr. Yannuzzi, who is the morning program facilitator and elementary music teacher, helped explain to the students that research shows that “happiness helps the healing.” One student thoughtfully asked, “How is that possible?” It may seem impossible, but feeling the joy of belief and the “spirit of believing” helps you and others feel empowered to support others through activities like the Believe Campaign.

The students, teachers, and parents that attended the morning program left with a warm heart knowing that their time and effort helped students to write 805 letters that would bring peace, happiness, healing, and the spirit of belief to other children. Morning program concluded as it always does, with MES’s very own character education song that highlights being a member of a community that cares about one another! MES is looking forward to participating in this campaign again next year.