8th grader designs billboard to promote kindness

Positively KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A local 8th grader is sharing a positive message about anti-bullying in a very big way.

Much like a butterfly on a flower, this colorful billboard sits perched over the intersection of 14th St. and South Marion Road.

‘Kindness’ billboard.

“I always thought of butterflies as a really kind creature and gentle,” Lopez said.

This is Memorial Middle School 8th Grader Jose Lopez’s latest attempt at spreading kindness. Growing up, he says he’s witnessed a few accounts of bullying in school.

“I have seen picking and stuff: like name picking and stuff like that, and, I guess, I always try and stand up for people and tell them to stop the bullies,” Lopez said.

When he heard about his school’s anti-bullying poster contest, he saw it as a sign to make a big difference.

“The final contest is to have the winning design go on a billboard,” VanderWolde said.

His pro-time teacher Nikki VanderWolde says this is a part of the school’s Bullying Prevention Program; The contest is only open to 8th graders.

Lopez with his design. Courtesy: Sioux Falls School District

“We have time in the morning with our pro-times to discuss what bullying is, and what we can do if we see bullying taking place and what we can do to prevent bullying and encourage positive behaviors,” VanderWolde said.

Lopez’s design was voted by the student body out of 450 other designs. While it’s an important message to have in the school, Lopez says it’s a reminder we could all use.

“I think it’s always a good thing for students and adults to be thinking about what they can do to support other people,” VanderWolde said.

Lopez hopes the 14 by 48-foot sign can drive people to do the right thing.

“I hope that it sends a reminder to be kind like to keep it in mind because sometimes you can forget to show kindness; so I hope it reminds people to be kind,” Lopez said.

The billboard will be up for people to see for the next four weeks.

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