*This story first appeared in The Budget’s April 11, 2018 Local Edition
By Beverly Keller
As the snow slowly fell outside and the cold wind of “sprinter” (a new name for spring and winter at the same time) blew, students at Hiland returned to the halls of school after spring break.
However, it was not a typical morning. It was one filled with high- fives, fist bumps, hugs, cheers and even bubbles, as well as loud, fun music and donuts, lots and lots of donuts.
The event, spearheaded by the community, was well-received by Hiland’s administration. In fact, Principal Matt Johnson was standing in the receiving line welcoming students back to school with gusto during the event.
Members of the community came out in support with signs that sparkled and bubble guns that blinked, and every student was welcomed in a paparazzi fashion.
“The idea is to have a fun and emotionally-supportive atmosphere for our school,” explained Tanya Miller, one of the organizers of the event. “We all know what is in the news and what has happened in our neighboring communities so we, as community members, wanted to do something positive for our students. The school administration have supported this idea and have had open arms to every idea to bring positive reinforcement to our students during such a tender time of fear, anxiety and concern.”
The welcome back was planned in conjunction with positive messages that were placed in bathrooms at the school and inside lockers. “I think, as a society, we need all the positive reinforcement we can get,” shared Dawn Hummel, secretary at Hiland.