The team was selected from nearly 200 applicants to implement a school-wide project with support from Harvard and The KIND Foundation.

A student team at Medford High School was selected as one of 10 finalists in a national challenge to promote kindness and inclusivity in schools across the country. As part of the second annual KIND Schools Challenge, the students will transform their ideas into action with an eye to winning the grand prize in 2018.

“We are extremely honored to be chosen as one of the finalists,” said student leader Jenna Agnone. “We are dedicated to our mission of developing global citizens and to making this world a better place, one student at a time.”

The students on Medford High’s team are Luiza Barbosa, Rubia Fernandes and Agnone. Their teacher mentor is Michael Skorker. Their proposed project will bridge the gap between academic English language learning and everyday language needs.

These three young ladies will build a library of videos to help students who are learning English navigate tasks such as obtaining a bus pass and submitting service hours. This project is also a part of Medford’s Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility (CCSR), funded by the Cummings Foundation.

This year, the team will work with Making Caring Common (MCC) and The KIND Foundation throughout the winter and spring to refine and implement their project. The winner of the KIND Schools Challenge will be announced in May 2018.

The KIND Schools Challenge aims to mobilize students nationwide to tackle issues such as bullying and harassment that undermine caring and empathy in schools. MCC, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and The KIND Foundation, a philanthropic entity started by healthy snack maker KIND, share a commitment to empowering the next generation to act with kindness. They partnered to launch the first KIND Schools Challenge last year for MCC partner schools, and the response was so positive that they teamed up again this September to open the challenge to students nationwide.

“Last year’s winner from Jacksonville, Flo. brought together their divided community by selecting a topic every two weeks that was relevant to the majority of the student body, such as the loss of a sibling or family member, homelessness or having an incarcerated parent,” said Dana Rosenberg, Director of The KIND Foundation. “Students were then able to show support for their peers by posting notes of encouragement on a bulletin board or a 'like' on Facebook.

"As a result of the project, students began to demonstrate more kindness as they learned they could relate to one another," Rosenberg added. "We can’t wait to see how this year’s finalists make an impact at their schools across the country.”

“When kindness is fostered in a school community, kids feel safer, more engaged and have stronger relationships that buoy them,” says Richard Weissbourd, Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Faculty Director of MCC. “We appreciate the dedication from all of our finalists to make kindness a priority in their school communities.”