On Thursday at Newbury School students walked through the halls wearing the jerseys of their favorite sports teams while on the other side of town Griebling School students were doing their best to fill the buckets of their friends and classmates.
The activities were just some of the many being held across the district and across the state as part of Respect Week.
The sports theme at Newbury was part of their Team Up For Respect day, which school guidance counselor Jill Martin is an idea that has been adopted by the staff and the students. "It brings awareness to respect to the students, respect for each other and the school and themselves and to value others differences," she said.
Martin said when the week started she sent a list of 35 activities to teachers in all the grades to give them ideas on how to bolster the idea of respect. Along with the teachers and students she said the PTA also got involved holding an anti-bullying assembly that was well received.
She said the student council created a banner with their own theme for the week. "We pledge to stand up against bullying, be a buddy not a bully," is a way they are looking at the positives of respect instead of focusing on the negative aspects of bullying.
Students at the elementary school have been excited about the activities associated with the week but Martin said the older students in the district have also been very involved. Splitting her time between Newbury and Memorial Middle School she said she has been glad to see the lessons catching on in both buildings. "You would think there's a great difference in the age groups but the middle school students are just as enthusiastic," she said.
Much like their peers at Newbury, the Griebling students are working to take their lessons from their regular year and apply them to Respect Week. The school has started a book of the month club which Vice Principal Danielle Vietoris said helps to teach lessons about building character and respect.
Kelly Mack, a teacher at the school, said the lessons have gone well together through the first month of the school year. "Each of the topics, they're going to be covered throughout the whole year and hopefully for years to come," she said. "The topics are always big ideas which related to ideas within respect week. It ties into more than just one week but the general idea is there."
For the Griebling students, filling a bucket can mean anything from doing a nice thing for a friend or a stranger or just sharing a smile to brighten someone's day. "It's like, I did some bad things, I did some good things, I'm kind of in the middle but I still learned a lesson that was the big topic that filling a bucket is very important," one of the students said.
The same books are being read by students in all grades in the building which they said helps to give them a common bond and something to talk about. Especially for students with siblings in the building many said it helps them to communicate better whether it is a younger or older person they are talking to. "Every time I do something a little bit rude my sister starts yelling at me saying you're being a bucket dipper, stop being one," another student said.
Bucket dippers, according to the lessons, are people who do things that are hurtful, mean or disrespectful to people around them.
Jill Bohm, another teacher in the building, said she has liked seeing how the books have brought people together. "Just even sharing a book throughout the whole school, it just kind of sets a foundation for effective teaching when everyone is working on the same topic and everyone can communicate," she said. "The children, no matter what grade they're in, they can all feel connected in some way as a community."