Manners learned at Trumbull HighSUSAN SILVERS email@example.comArticle Last Updated: 09/15/2007 10:58:58 PM EDT
TRUMBULL — When he first heard Trumbull High School was promoting good manners, Xavier Williams thought it might be a little silly.
But now, he said, he likes the idea of saying thank you to staff such as lunchroom workers who might not normally get recognition. "I shook a few hands," he said, pointing to a custodian emptying trash in the cafeteria as the type of person who deserved thanks. "I held a few doors," he added, sharing another courtesy encouraged in the program.
Seeking to make what they say is a good school even better, a group of students has embarked on a mission to "Turn It Around," with extra acts of consideration for others.
The program was the brainchild of Erik Neumann, a senior who, in the course of touring colleges, found similar efforts on the campuses of the University of Wisconsin, his parents' alma mater, and George Washington University, which his sister attends.
"This can really affect and change Trumbull High," Neumann said.
Principal Robert Tremaglio said the program also nicely piggybacks on a series of assemblies the school held last year to encourage respect, regardless of someone's gender, race or creed.
"These topics all fall under the umbrella of respect," he said.
During the summer, Neumann approached fellow Student Council member Sigourney Norman about how to shape the program and make their fellow students conscious of it.
Working with school administrators, they got the go-ahead to get "Turn It Around" buttons,
which are being passed out by selected teachers, administrators and student council members.
After assemblies last week introduced the new program, "Turn It Around" began in earnest this week.
For example, Monday was Reach Out day, an effort to get students to talk to others outside their own cliques. Tuesday was Speak Kindly day, designed to encourage students not to gossip and speak respectfully. Wednesday was Hold The Door day, and Friday is Appreciation day to say thanks to people, especially those who don't usually receive it.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," said Patty Raucchio, a senior. She said the "reach out" concept could be especially helpful to newer students.
Aisha Sharp, a junior, said she'd already gotten a button for holding a door.
"I like how they acknowledge people using manners 'cause there're a lot of jerks here," she said.
Jennica Coelho, another junior, said she'd already seen one girl with three buttons.
"It's kind of like competition — who's got more," she said.
Though this week has special themes to promote the program, it will be an ongoing effort, with designers passing out buttons throughout the year. In fact, some students — especially those with several — are passing on theirs to others in recognition of kind acts
Max Coleman, a sophomore, said he thought it would give students another way to be noticed for doing good.
But, he said, one reason it's working is that the encouragement is subtle. "They don't overdo it," he said.