Start With Hello Week

Congratulations to our 2019 Winners!

Start With Hello Contest Winners

Sandy Hook Promise is pleased to announce the winners of awards to recognize efforts to build communities and break down barriers. The following are winners of the Student Voices and Start With Hello Week school awards, selected from hundreds of submissions across the country:

Student Voices Contest Winners

Download this presentation to see their award-winning creations.

Spoken Category

High School Winners

  • Emily Hitaffer and The Tractor Shed Theatre Group, St. Stephen’s High School, Hickory North Carolina
  • Kelsey Beasley, College Station High School, College Station, Texas
  • Daniel Emmanuel, Academy for Information Technology, Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Middle School Winners

  • Rita Tonsa, Springton Lake Middle School, Media, Pennsylvania
  • Anna Stroynick, Circleville Middle School - Pine Bush Central School District, Circleville, New York
  • Alexa Pusch, Summit Academy 7 – 8, Chandler, Arizona
  • Honorable Mention: Zoya Khan, Jericho Middle School, Jericho, New York

Elementary School Winners

  • Rachel Ventresca’s 5th Grade Class, Miami Beach South Pointe Elementary School, Florida (Original lyrics & music by her students: Ben, Ana, Maija, Lis, Manuela, Valentina, Madison, Blu, Luna, Lorenzo, Aden, Colton, Arturo, Julian, Sofia, Magglio, Thomas, Sebastian, and Trace)
  • Giullianna Narvaez-Aponte, Glen Springs Elementary School, Gainesville, Florida
  • Alison Kloehn, Mary Bryan Elementary School, Tampa, Florida
  • Honorable Mention: Rajvi Nayak, Mount Pleasant Elementary School, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Honorable Mention: Jackson Molnar, Mount Pleasant Elementary School, Wilmington, Delaware

Visual Art Category

High School Winners

  • Mariah Pena, Dixie Hollins High School, Petersburg, Florida
  • Lexi Burns, Doral Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Elaijah Wright, O.H. Platt High School, Meriden, Connecticut
  • Honorable Mention: Shanazzi Baksh, Woodward High School, Toledo, Ohio

Middle School Winners

  • Jaden McBean, Summit Academy 7 - 8, Chandler, Arizona
  • Tess Stefaniak, Summit Academy 7 – 8, Chandler, Arizona
  • Sophia Lagomarsino, Del Webb Middle School, Henderson, Nevada
  • Honorable Mention: Rhiannon Finkle, Avon Middle High School (Grade 8), Avon, Massachusetts
  • Honorable Mention: Isabella (Izzy) Bowen, Summit Academy 7 – 8, Chandler, Arizona
  • Honorable Mention: Gianna, Cara, Kaitlyn, Molly, Jess, Springton Lake Middle School, Media, Pennsylvania
  • Honorable Mention: Ryan Walcott-Taylor, Spotsylvania Middle School, Fredricksburg, Virginia
  • Honorable Mention: Aniston Reynolds, Tinker K – 8 School, Tampa, Florida

Elementary School Winners

  • Caleb Peres, Mount Pleasant Elementary School, Wilmington, Delaware
  • William Canion, Glen Springs Elementary School, Gainesville, Florida
  • Caleb Rogers, Twin Oaks Elementary School, San Marco, California
  • Honorable Mention: Zoie Nowak, Rushville Elementary School, Rushville, Missosuri
  • Honorable Mention: Katherine Dussouy, Mannsdale Upper Elementary School, Madison, Mississippi

Written Category

High School Winners

  • Jane Williams, Northville Central School, Northville, New York
  • Bridget Ferris, Pope John Paul II High School, Royersford, Pennsylvania
  • Sahaianne Higginbotham, Doral Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada

Middle School Winners

  • Raimon Malone, McLane Middle School, Brandon, Florida
  • Zoya Khan, Jericho Middle School, Jericho, New York
  • Valeria Dancea, North Cross School, Roanoke, Virginia

Elementary School Winners

  • Riley Maher, Mountain View School, East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
  • Siyona Malhotra, Livingston, New Jersey
  • Izabella Schmidt, Mount Pleasant Elementary School, Wilmington, Delaware

School/District Award Winners

  • 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)

Read the press release to learn more about the awards.

Join thousands of schools across the country for Start With Hello Week!

Start With Hello

Start With Hello Week: Sept. 21-25, 2020

Register now or get more info!

Want a fun, free and easy way to create a culture of inclusion that values each individual at your school?... Start With Hello! This program teaches students to make a difference with their peers in a simple, fun, and impactful way. They take small but powerful actions to promote connectedness and inclusion, and to identify and help lonely students who are showing signs of social isolation.

Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely or treated like you are invisible. Young people who feel this way may pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development, or choose to hurt themselves or others.

When is Start With Hello Week?

Thousands of schools and youth organizations across the United States will participate in Start With Hello Week in the fall each year. When you sign up, you’re bringing attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation and building empathy in the classroom.

Who can participate in the event?

Whether your school or youth organization has participated in Start With Hello in the past, or has just learned about it, this is the perfect opportunity to welcome students back to school – and to empower students in sustaining a culture of inclusiveness and connectedness throughout the school year.

You can also share Start With Hello with your community. Use this sample email and sample letter to the editor to invite schools and youth organizations in your community to participate in Start With Hello Week.

What happens during Start With Hello Week?

Start With Hello Week raises awareness about social isolation and educates students and the community on how to prevent it through: Start With Hello trainings, awareness, activities, public proclamations, media events, student contests and school awards. Watch the video to see some highlights. 

What resources are available?

Educational materials and support from Sandy Hook Promise are available to schools, youth-serving organizations and others at no cost, thanks to the generosity of our donors.

Start With Hello Week Planning Guide: Download this newly updated, no-cost and easy-to-implement planning guide that provides you with ideas, activities and templates your school or youth organization can do in as little as an hour during Start With Hello Week. Once you register, you’ll have access to educational and promotional materials. What’s more, you’ll get weekly tips and updates on how to plan a successful event.

How can we recognize student participation?

Start With Hello Student Voices Contest: Encourage your students to enter their creative submissions in our Start With Hello Student Voices Contest.

Start With Hello School Award: All schools and youth organizations participating in Start With Hello Week are eligible to apply for a Start With Hello Award.

What languages are the materials available in?

Start With Hello materials are available in Spanish, Haitian Creole (Kreyòl), Portuguese and Vietnamese! To receive the materials, please sign up to participate in Start With Hello Week.

Register now or get more info

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