Kindness taking over schools in Gothenburg

GOTHENBURG, Neb. (KNOP) - #BeKind. That is the state-wide theme for schools in Nebraska this year. A school in Gothenburg is going all-in with their decorated classroom doors and bulletin boards.

Art teacher Jamie Stortenbecker traded in her summer vacation for time painting encouraging messages around the school. Sayings like 'she is brave' and 'you are beautiful' are painted throughout the bathrooms at Dudley Elementary School.

"It just means so much because sometimes I don't realize how much of an impact I can have and now just seeing I mean people see it and realized I'm like wow, I do have an impact and I can share my passion not just in the art room, but elsewhere," said Stortenbecker.

Fifth grade Carson Reiman says he loves to see the artwork.

"I think it gives people a better understanding of what kindness is. Mrs. Stortenbecker did a lot of work on these," said Reiman.

Stortenbecker painted a mural in the hallway, messages in the bathrooms and made a 'throw kindness like confetti' bulletin board.

Matthew Keith, who is in 2nd grade, said he is working to be kind to others, "I go stand up for them and ask them if they want to be your friend. I asked someone if they wanted to play with us."

The 3rd grade students went to Gothenburg High School and sidewalk chalked the school grounds with positive affirmations for the students to see on their first days of school. The high schoolers then returned the favor with chalk designs of their own for the elementary students to see.

Gothenburg Public Schools Principal Angie Richeson says it's a theme specific to this year, but she hopes to see the kindness message continue.

"They have played with me at recess, they have complimented me. We have a lot of nice kids at our school," said 4th grade Carter Kincheloe.