For the past couple of days our school got our second biannual visit from Will Slotnick of Wellness Collaborative. Usually he leads a discussion about drug and alcohol use, but this year the conversation centered more around our perceptions of others. In our class at least, we discussed how easy it is to talk negatively about people behind their backs, and how rarely we say anything nice about people right to their face. So we did just that, in an all-school assembly. One by one, people volunteered to stand up and have nice things said to them. While there was a certain risk of people either not saying anything or only saying superficial compliments, I think the exercise was a success. When Mr. Slotnick led an assembly last year, it was more intense; faculty and people from several grades stood up in front of the school and gave advice on “knowing what they know now, what they would do differently.” It got very emotional and I think brought our school closer together. This year had more of a light-hearted tone, but was also very emotional in that, for me at least, it was heartwarming to hear our close friends, classmates, and teachers, receive glowing praise and begin to shine themselves. When the assembly was over I was bouncing with the aftereffects and hunted down many people I had not been able to compliment during the period, so I could tell them exactly why I thought they were so great. In such a small school, gossip and mean words get traded a lot behind people’s backs, and I loved the opportunity to change that around entirely. Listening to others get praised made me feel good, praising others felt good, and being praised felt good. I think our school should do that more often. Like on a daily basis.