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Sandy Hook Promise Announces Winners Of The Start With Hello Week School Awards

Start With Hello Contest Winners

Newtown, CT — Imagine being 10 years old and eating alone at a lunch table, surrounded by laughing classmates, and having no one to talk to. Making that uncomfortable, isolating experience a thing of the past is the common goal of the 11 Start With Hello Week School Award-winning schools and districts across the nation.

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), the nation’s leading school violence prevention organization, launched the awards in tandem with the larger Start With Hello Week national campaign to recognize school efforts to prevent bullying and violence. SHP selected the following winners from hundreds of submissions across the country:

  • Elementary Schools: James Caldwell Elementary School (Springfield Township, NJ); Gardiner Manor Elementary School (Bay Shore, NY); Azalea Elementary School (St. Petersburg, FL), and William C. Jack Elementary School (Glendale, AZ)
  • Middle Schools: Solon Middle School (Solon, OH); Olde Towne Middle School (Ridgeland, MS); and Jane Addams Middle School (Lawndale, CA).
  • High Schools: South Western High School (Hanover, PA); East Bay High School (Hillsborough, FL); Vicente Martinez High School (St. Martinez, CA)
  • District: Union County Public Schools (Monroe, NC)

To qualify for the awards, each school and district must demonstrate active student leadership, creativity of expression in programmatic activities, broad community reach, and concrete plans and commitment to sustaining the Start With Hello program long-term. Each winner received an award plaque, cash prize, and free admission to the Annual SAVE Summit to share their stories and activities with SAVE Promise Club students from across the country.

“Teaching empathy and compassion in early life is absolutely critical for preventing violence and depression,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting. “By integrating these values in school culture, we ensure that our schools can be supportive safe havens for our children. This can have a life-long impact.”

About Start With Hello:  Start With Hello (SWH) is a no-cost program designed to help kids in grades 2 through 12 to break the ice, overcome social barriers, and get to know one another in order to create and sustain an inclusive culture and school community.

About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.  SHP’s mission is to prevent gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization BEFORE they can happen by creating a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others.  SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions, and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. Make the Promise at


Contact: Aimee Thunberg, Communications Director | [email protected] | 203.304.9780 x177

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