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Hudson School District: High-schoolers build hope

It's time to share stories about teenagers today in order to give readers a positive picture of what Hudson High School staff members frequently witness. Those of us who work with high-schoolers have a sense of hope for the future because of the multitude of acts of consideration for others initiated by our students. Despite the sometimes negative reputation of self-centeredness teenagers can have, we get a much broader, more inspiring picture.

In just the last six months at HHS, students have come forward with a wide variety of ideas for making a difference in their community and in the wider world around them. I share a few examples here, but by no means does this encompass all of the students' ideas and actions.

During the summer while on break from school, students came forward to express their interest in ensuring Homecoming 2012 was a positive experience for everyone. At the start of the school year, students volunteered to share their technology expertise with staff after school on a regular basis. One of them recently offered to create a video of a positive anti-bullying program -- Flip It Forward -- for us. Many students volunteered to spend a summer day in August being trained as student mentors and leaders in this Flip It Forward Program. Our students in SADD(Students Against Destructive Decisions) and AMP (Athletes Making Progress) have planned a Red Out event for an upcoming basketball game to highlight the benefits of everyone knowing CPR. Beyond Hudson, students have even had ideas about how to help others they don't know.

HHS students came forward after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary with many ideas about how to make a difference. Freshmen wanted to get involved in becoming part of the Angels of Sandy Hook, by raising money or sending cards with hopeful messages. A sophomore student decided to spend his own money on 26 Random Acts of kindness for others -- one to remember every victim in the Sandy Hook tragedy. Another group of students is preparing a bake sale as a fundraiser for those affected by the tragedy in Newtown.

Our students who support and are involved in athletics are helping others, even with limited time. Last year, students immediately thought of many ideas to help support Jack Jablonski, a Benilde St. Margaret's hockey player who was paralyzed on the ice. Each year, athletic teams find ways to support cancer research. Most recently, the boys and girls hockey teams decided to "Fill the Rink with Pink", creating T-shirts to sell for breast cancer awareness and research.

Finally, our students in the fine and performing arts who are active in many co-curriculars are also involved with volunteerism. The Empty Bowls project, holiday lights performances, local talent shows, work with senior citizens in the community and many events with Youth Action Hudson are examples of a wide variety of fine arts students who make a difference for others.

If you haven't had a chance to see high-schoolers building hope for others, I invite you to have a conversation with any HHS staff member to learn about the positive efforts of students we hear about and witness consistently.