MONROE — An ongoing program designed to give South Sevier Middle School faculty, staff and students unity is letting this school year be the year where each individual focuses on “Building a Stronger Me!”
In the last several years, SSMS has been teaching its students about the importance of acceptance, kindness, and looking for small and simple ways to reach out to others.
The general slogan of the program in the past has been Me2We.
“The efforts have been successful and the culture and climate of the school and student body are very positive and welcoming,” said Michelle Nielson, principal of SSMS. “This year things are shifting a bit. Not because the job is complete in teaching about kindness, but because there is more to what helps a person develop habits of being a kind and accepting person than only being reminded to look out for others.”
Nielson said the school is focusing on helping students look within and making themselves stronger.
“Building self-esteem and self-confidence, courage, grit and resiliency, positive attitude and mindset and empathy are all key factors in teaching a person to understand how to help themselves learn to help others,” Nielson said. “In doing so, SSMS students will not only become stronger as individuals, but the school will become stronger as a whole helping our community be one of encouragement, acceptance and success.”
The goal of breaking down cliques and being concerned with the mental health of students is in line with a larger district, and even state effort.
Funding was approved this year by the Utah Legislature, which has allowed Sevier School District to hire three mental health professionals for schools to utilize.
However, the message Nielson said her staff is trying to get out goes beyond in trying to establish human connections.
“Take a look around you and recognize who might need friendship and love, but don’t forget to include yourself,” Nielson said. “It starts within. Build up yourself so you know how to build up others.”