On Valentines day, students across the United States bring empty boxes to school with hopes of filling it with sweet cards and even sweeter treats. I’m not quite sure that the day focuses on “love” and “appreciation” anymore. In my opinion, Valentines day is that one day that all the healthy school rules go out the window and kids get to eat candy until their belly aches.
As a service member brought in to create a healthier school environment, I found myself wanting to go into hiding on this day. I questioned whether or not I should be present in the schools. After all, no one wants to see the candy police when they have just smuggled 10 pounds worth of banned treats into their classroom.
After back and forth thinking, I realized that I absolutely need to be in the school on Valentines day. It may be one of the most important days to show kids they don’t need candy to show their appreciation to one another. I know it is a far reach to try to change minds about a beloved holiday, but I figured I’d give it a shot. Below are examples of what I did in Oelwein:
It started with a simple, informational bulletin board. After all, they are only in elementary school. I put this bulletin board up at the beginning of February so that kids would subconsciously connect it to Feb. 14 and still perceive the message without mentioning “Valentines”.
Being a lover of puns, I thought it would be great to have a beets taste test. “Why?”, you may ask… because “You make my heart Beet.” Below is a picture of beets, onions, and a nicely dyed cutting board.
I figured that wasn’t “punny” enough so I decided to create Valentines day cards. I handed them out to students and teachers to show my appreciation.
Lastly, I put Cuties outside my office and in the teachers lounge as a replacement to the iconic sugar hearts.
Overall, I left my mark on Valentines day without giving in to the candy exchange. It was a challenge that I didn’t want to tackle but I am happy that I did.
Service member tip #1: Be present.
Oodles of Love,