The Nice Competition

by Rebecca Nguyen, 2013 (posted 2-24-12)

English teacher Megumi Yamamoto is launching a kindness movement in her classes. This literal “friendly competition” will hopefully encourage students to be helpful and to be overall more considerate to their peers. 

The rules of the competition is simple; each of Yamamoto’s student are assigned to a fellow student in their class to whom they must secretly do nice things for. Students are assigned to each other randomly and for the entirety of the school year. The students must specifically go out of there way to do nice things for their buddy. Each good deed done is documented by the students themselves and come June the student who has done the most nice things for their buddy is awarded a book of their choosing and a cup of coffee with Yamamoto. 

Good deeds can range from helping their assigned student carry their books, leaving them a cheerful note, or giving anonymous small gifts and treats. Students are encouraged to be creative; spending money is not at all necessary. All students have to do is make sure they remain inconspicuous.

This competition was actually a very spontaneous decision for Yamamoto. The idea came during one of her junior literature classes. A few of her male students had decided to have a beard growing competition over February break and Yamamoto had a spark of creativity and imagined a kindness competition, which was soon announced.

Kindness is contagious and Yamamoto’s competition has been received with enthusiasm and growing popularity.  A number of her classes are participating and the competition has also spread in other areas of the English department. Ms. Diann Milone, English teacher, has adopted the idea and is also holding kindness competitions after urging from her own students. 

Although each competition will have a winner, the bigger goal of this project is to create a more enjoyable atmosphere with more people going out of their way to do something special for someone else. Even after the school year is over, the good spirit can remain and students will hopefully continue to do good deeds simply because it is the right thing to do.