GRANITE CITY — Three years ago, Grigsby Intermediate School sixth-grade teacher Krista Whittleman came up with an idea of a Christmas project.
It’s called 12 Days of Xmas, where students and staff members at Grigsby try to achieve an act of kindness each day.
“We challenged all the students and staff to do 12 acts of kindness between the 12 days, so that’s why we call it 12 Days of Xmas,” Whittleman said. “They give out cards and help people pass it on and they get an act. The teachers kept track for every act of kindness. They went all around the building and we started going around again, which is pretty neat. They came up individually with all of the acts they’ve done.”
Every year, the program has been successful. This year, Grigsby, which is a school of less than 900 students, had 7,662 acts of kindness from Dec. 7-18.
“The kids really got into it,” Whittleman said. “They really enjoyed it. They were challenging each other to see how many they got done that night. There were no prizes involved. They were just doing it.”
She said among the acts of kindness the students performed were carrying groceries, doing chores at home without being asked, picking up trash in the neighborhood, putting coupons on items in grocery stores and bringing school supplies in for other students.
Whittleman said she hopes the program will be successful again next year.
“I’m excited about it,” she said. “I love seeing my students getting involved and they would talk to me every day about it. It’s really neat.”
Whittleman graduated from Granite City High School in 1991. After teaching at Prather Elementary School for five years, she landed a teacher job at Grigsby in 1994.
“I love teaching there,” she said. “Everybody is really helpful. We’re all sharing ideas all of the time.”