How Louisa County students rallied around kindness

Posted at 6:33 PM, Apr 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-04 19:11:51-04

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. -- Instead of a day indoors, Louisa County Public Schools brought all of its students to their high school football stadium for a kindness rally.

"It's all about taking care of one another. One team, one family, one community. That's what we are here in Louisa and it's important to really relay that message and make sure that continues on and on," said LCPS Division Superintendent Doug Straley. "We need to make sure each generation understands the importance of taking care of one another. If you want a great team, you need to make sure you're taking care of each other and lifting each other up and that's what it's all about."

The rally featured teamwork-based games, speeches, skydivers, virtual drop-ins from alumni (like Carolina Panthers linebacker Brandon Smith), and a musical performance by Austin Lanier, a Newport News, Va.-native who speaks to schools about learning to live with his ADHD.

"Just felt different from everybody else. I used to hate myself because I was different until I started to learn that being different is a good thing. That every single person has their own, special unique purpose. So, instead of trying to be like everybody else I shifted to embracing my uniqueness," said Lanier. "I'm going to be telling [the students] just how important kindness is. How to love yourself and love others, because you never know what somebody else is going through."

This was the first rally for kindness since the original in 2017, which Straley said put more of a focus on how to be kind, rather than how not to be unkind.

"We may not always come from the same place, we may not look like each other, we may not have the same views -- but at the end of the day, we can respect each other, take care of each other, and great things will happen," he added.

Organizers hope that the event will become a biennial thing.

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