ST. GEORGE — Washington County schools are in the midst of Hope Week, a five-day event during which students from preschool through fifth grade participate in activities that foster team spirit, friendship and other positive characteristics.

Signs such as this one reinforce the message of positivity that Hope Week is designed for at Washington County schools, St. George, Utah, Jan. 23, 2024 | Photo courtesy Stacy Howard, St. George News

“They love having a challenge every morning. Also, the dress-up idea is great. They always bring feedback for something they have done,” Maria Gonzales, a fifth grade teacher at Paradise Canyon Elementary School, told St. George News in an email. “For instance, yesterday they said they saw a little kid alone during recess and they talked to him, and he was sad at first but then he became happier because he had attention.”

Paradise Canyon kindergarten teacher Stephanie Johnstone said in an email to St. George News that Hope Week serves as a beneficial tool for both teaching and learning.

“My class is loving it,” she said about Hope Week. “It’s a great incentive tool to help with behavior and reminds the kiddos what it is to be kind.”

Through daily challenges, activities at lunch and more, Hope Week is designed to be inclusive and encourage participation.

The week started with “Always ‘Root’ for Each Other” day where students were encouraged to embrace team spirit by dressing up in sports shirts or their favorite team’s colors. The highlight of the day was a contest where each class was challenged to create a cheer, chant, dance or slogan. The entries will be recorded and voted on, with fun prizes awaiting the most creative and spirited class.

“Buddy Day! You’re Never Alone!” was featured Tuesday and emphasized the importance of friendship and companionship. Students were invited to dress up as one of their friends, fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie throughout the school.

On Wednesday, it’s “Past Mistakes No ‘S’mores’” day, which encourages students to embrace their past mistakes as opportunities for growth. All who participate dress up as campers or hikers, symbolizing a journey of self-discovery and resilience.

Thursday is all about spreading kindness in a colorful way with “Color Your World With Kindness” day. Each grade is assigned a specific color to wear, showing a visible display of unity. For instance, first graders wear orange, and third graders wear green.

Friday continues the theme of kindness with “Dream of a World with Kindness” day. The week concludes on a cozy note, with students encouraged to wear pajamas. The day aims to reinforce the message of Hope Week, emphasizing the importance of dreaming of a world filled with kindness.

So far, the kids are loving it, Paradise Canyon Elementary School counselor Stacy Howard said. Students of all ages have shared various hopes: One student hopes for everyone to get along, another hopes for nobody to hate each other, and a third hopes for their family to be happy.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.