Sandy Hook Promise Announces Winners of the ‘Start with Hello’ Week School Awards


Sandy Hook Promise Announces Winners of the ‘Start with Hello’ Week School Awards

December 17, 2018 -- 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 eight Start with Hello Week School Award-winning schools and districts across the nation. 

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), the nation’s leading gun 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 Madeira Beach Fundamental in Madeira Beach, FL and Bloomfield School District in Bloomfield, NJ as the Grand Prize Winners; St. Stephens High School in Hickory, NC as the First Place Winner for Student Leadership, Spirit, Creativity, and Sustainability (Runners up: La Quinta Middle School in La Quinta, CA and Seaman Elementary School in Jericho, NY); and Hermosa Beach City School District in Hermosa, CA as the First Place Winner for Community Reach and Sustainability (Runners up: Smyrna School District in Smyrna, DE and Mannsdale Upper Elementary School in Madison, MS).

To qualify for the awards, each school and district must demonstrate active student involvement, creativity of expression in programmatic activities, broad community outreach, and concrete plans and commitment to sustaining the Start with Hello program long-term. Each winner received an award plaque, cash prize, and stipends to travel to the Annual SAVE Summit to share their stories and activities with SAVE Promise Club students from across the country.  Grand Prize winners also get a personal visit from one of the Sandy Hook Promise co-founders.

"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 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. 


Contact: Aimee Thunberg

Communications Director

Sandy Hook Promise                         203.304.9780 x177