Paying it forward proves priceless at Kathryn Senor |

Paying it forward proves priceless at Kathryn Senor

Theresa Hamilton
Garfield Re-2 Director
of Districtwide Services

The students and staff at Kathryn Senor Elementary in New Castle are quietly launching a revolution to change the world ” one good deed at a time. It’s called paying it forward, and just like the 2000 novel Pay it Forward it is based on the premise that one kind action leads to many, many more.

The program began last year when Kathryn Senor counselor Kristin Greenstreet and principal Bill Zambelli decided that in conjunction with the holidays, they would ask teachers to teach lessons about diversity, citizenship and community involvement.

The students participated in a food drive, and the school set a goal for 1,000 random acts of kindness.

This year, the program has grown. All classes have Pay it Forward Plans. These plans set specific goals and actions for the student’s acts of kindness. The fourth graders publicly model the program by explaining to the entire school how they will pay it forward when they read the morning announcements over the intercom.

“Kids will not recognize kindness unless we call it kindness,” explained Greenstreet. “We need to use phrases that will bring it to their consciousness.”

She added that she has seen some changes from last year to this.

“What I have noticed is that the comments are more heartfelt. The kids are looking at the bigger picture of community, family and neighborhood.”

Seeking ways to help others has become part of the culture at Kathryn Senor.

“It’s a natural habit,” said fourth grader Tyler Guettler. “You learn it and it just becomes a habit.”

“You can do it wherever you want,” added classmate Diego Valencia. “You can (perform acts of kindness) at home, in the community … even in New York.”

Fourth-grade teacher Heather Knighton has seen a dramatic difference in her classroom. Negative activities, such as being disruptive in class, have dropped significantly, and the students can tell you why.

“We are focused on each other and people and the work that we are doing,” said Valencia. “We’re not talking to each other when we should be listening.”

For Greenstreet, the reward is just watching her Kathryn Senor students want to help each other and the people whom their lives touch.

“It just gives me chills to think that this trickles down through their communities,” she said.

Kathryn Senor students have set a goal for over 1,500 acts of kindness this month and they appear to be well on the road to success.

Random Acts of Kindness week is Feb. 9-15.

Dates of interest

Please note, the Rifle High School Variety Show has been changed to Thursday, Jan. 29.


29 ” RHS Variety Show, RHS auditorium, 7 p.m.

Wamsley Elementary School Math Night, 6:30 p.m.


5 ” Roy Moore Elementary fourth-grade program, RME gymnasium, 7 p.m.

9 ” RHS Pep Band concert, RHS gymnasium, 7 p.m.

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