Middle schooler starts Post-it note campaign to promote kindness

CALEDONIA, Mich. -- What can you write on a Post-it note? An eighth grade bathroom at Kraft Meadows Middle School was covered with them Thursday.

The sticky notes and their messages are being posted in bathrooms across this school and others.

"For girls to be saying nice things to each other is all I wanted," said Alexa Leason, the KMMS eighth grader behind this act of kindness.

Middle school can be tough, and bullying happens everywhere from on social media to inside bathrooms.

"It was just a school I went to for a basketball game," said Leason, "and by the mirrors it said, 'You're ugly.'"

Acts of bullying surrounded her until Leason saw an opportunity.

"I just brought in a couple sheets of paper and it all worked out," she said.

Post-it notes.

"'Alexa, you have lifted the spirits of us all,'" read Leason, with a dozen peers listening inside the eighth grade girls' bathroom.

First Leason wrote a note, asking others to stand for kindness and spread that in a message on a Post-it before school Wednesday.

She left paper, pens, and then it grew to cover the bathroom just a few hours later. The sticky notes and their messages are now being posted in bathrooms across this school and others.

"'Maci Grace, your hair shines like the sand,'" read eighth grader Maci VanderLaan, pulling a note written to herself left on the bathroom mirror.

Then Maddie Kohn, an eighth grader standing beside the others, pulled off the note she wrote to her big sister, Macayla, who was just 16 when she was killed in a car crash in Caledonia Township.

“'Macayla, even though you can’t read this, I wanted to write how beautiful you are and how missed you are,'" read Kohn. "'This is something you would do. Love you sister.'”

"My sister passed away in a car accident, this past October," Kohn said, wiping her tears. "She really impacted all of us for a while, and then it kind of just went away. So this kind of brought it all back, which is really cool."

Others wrote to peers who felt alone, complimenting them to let them know they care.

"I don't even have words to describe how happy [these notes] made me feel," said Leason.

"It just made me feel a lot better about myself," said Kohn.

Now, Post-its covering the mirror, a space that can magnify our insecurities, are allowing these eighth graders to see encouragement.

"Go say something nice to someone because it will make a difference," said Leason.

Their Principal Steve Uyl says he could not be prouder.

"We talk about the importance of test scores and all those things in public education, but really at the end of the day it comes down to character and integrity," said Uyl. "I couldn't be more proud of what has happened here."

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