Spreading Positivity through “Positivity Shout-outs”


The header of the Microsoft Form used to submit Positivity Shout-outs.

Guanyi Cao '21

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many clubs have found creative ways to continue their normal activities. For Project Unify, it was no different. Starting in November, Project Unify made sure to continue their mission of spreading kindness in a new way: “Positivity shout-outs.”

This project, with the support of club advisor Mrs. Brodzinski, was developed by three seniors: Kelly Wei, Jacob Minnick, and Jenna D’Angelo. Positivity shout-outs showcase an individual (a staff member or student) that has positively impacted another person (the sender). The shoutout is then posted on Project Unify’s Instagram and Twitter.

“This is a way for any student or staff member to publicly thank someone at WTHS for being a positive influence in their lives,” Mrs. Brodzinski remarks.

“We’ve been trying to find ways to connect with the school community remotely,” says Jacob Minnick. “This allowed us an easy and effective way to spread some happiness.”

The idea stemmed from Project Unify’s usual tradition of “Welcome Wednesdays,” which was forced to come to a halt after the school’s closing. Due to the difficulties of interaction caused by COVID-19 safety protocols, the three seniors came up with a solution that would not only spread kindness and uplift others on social media, but also reach staff members and students virtually. Both the sender and recipient receive an email with a link to the finished project on Instagram, so that they can see the message even if they don’t have social media.

“I definitely think it has been a successful idea since there’s almost a chain of positivity,” Kelly Wei remarks. “One person is highlighted and then, in turn, submits a shout-out for another person and it keeps growing.”

The posts and tweets of positivity shoutouts have engaged plenty of people around the community, and students and staff are constantly sending new shout-outs in. As of December 20th, there were thirty-seven posts in the five weeks since the start of the project.

“This year has been very difficult for all students and teachers,” says Jenna D’Angelo, one of the student leaders behind the project. “Our club was just happy that we were able to spread kindness still even though we aren’t in school.”

These positivity shout-outs, although short and simple, have really had a deep impact on many recipients and senders. Many faculty members have expressed their appreciation for these positive words. During the difficulties presented by the pandemic, many faculty members are trying their hardest to support staff and students while balancing their own family’s needs and health.

“It was an opportunity to say I see you, I see how hard you’re working and even though we can’t be together, I’m thinking of you,” Mrs. Heather Petolicchio explains. She also conveyed her surprise upon receiving a shout-out. “I didn’t expect a shout out for me. It was a wonderful surprise and gave me a little positive energy boost that someone noticed and appreciated my work and helped me to get through another challenging remote school day.”

“To hear such kind words from one of my students has literally brought tears to my eyes,” says Ms. Dillard, another recipient of a positivity shoutout. “Teaching is definitely a passion and to know that I’ve impacted someone in this way is truly humbling.”

Similarly, senior Trina Basu also feels that the positivity shoutouts have been extremely valuable.

“It’s important to recognize those who have been a source of positivity for us during these tough times,” she explains. Upon sending and also receiving a shoutout, she expressed gratitude. “I’m so grateful for having such amazing people in my life, and I was so glad to share the positive impact they’ve had on my life. When I received a shoutout, I was happy to see that I’ve also had a positive impact on someone. It really meant a lot.”

Due to their success, the positivity shoutouts will continue. Students looking forward to more projects from Project Unify are welcome to join and contribute ideas. In January, Project Unify will be kicking off their two biggest projects of the year: the annual Week of Kindness and Ability Fair. Mrs. Brodzinski voiced her concerns about returning to school in time for these events, but also states that if need be, the club will find a way to bring them to the school in a virtual format.

“I’m honored to be a part of this inclusive club and be able to make a difference,” Jenna D’Angelo says. “Everyone who is a member knows how special it is, and how much fun we have. We are always open to and love to see new members, and you can join at any time.”

To stay up to date on Project Unify’s activities, students should follow their social media channels: @wths_project_unify on Instagram and @twpproject unify on Twitter.

If anyone is interested in participating in the Positivity Shoutouts (anyone, staff or student, at WTHS can nominate as many people as they’d like), they can do so through this form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=MNRd2DZlrkS7nnRxZaAHNboQ6lJOMAJKmDg89l4v2WhUQjBNVFlaU0NOMk5KOUlJSEI0QjBFMzZLSy4u

Although 2020 has been an unprecedented period of difficulty for schools, someone’s day can still be brightened—by spreading some positivity and joy.