Sixth-grader Thea Knowles spent the weekend thinking about kindness. Well, kindness, and socks.

Thursday, Jan. 29, is “Kick Into Gear and Help Someone Near” day at The Runnels School, and students are encouraged to wear different-colored socks and shoes as a visual reminder of what they’re trying to accomplish as a school this week.

As part of the Great Kindness Challenge, the school spent the entire week following what is already the first rule of Runnels: Be Kind.

In fact, the campus has been lousy with random acts of kindness.

“We’re going this weekend to shop for socks,” Knowles said Friday, the day of the school’s Kindness Kickoff Rally. Knowles and her friends already had a good idea of what they were going to buy: pink princess socks.

It’s not the only visual reminder to be kind. On Tuesday, students were allowed to wear pajamas for Dream of Kindness day, and on Wednesday, crazy hair and clothes for Crazy for Kindness day.

The challenge included many other elements, Runnels’ Elementary Principal Marcia Mackay said, including kindness-grams — students could stop by a station set up at recess to send notes to teachers or other students this week, either to pay a compliment or to thank them. The notes were then distributed throughout the week.

Students also were being kind to a school in California by helping it attempt to break the world record for the most “kind-hearted handprints.”

Kind-hearted handprints are handprints in paint with a heart shape in the center. Older students helped younger students make their prints by rolling paint on their hands, placing a paper heart in the center, then pressing the hand onto a contrasting color of paper, leaving a paintless heart shape in the center of the print. The school plans to send the prints off to California to contribute to the world record attempt.

The week also included a daily kindness quote, reading books about kindness in preparation and collecting items on a wish list for St. Vincent de Paul Shelter for Men, Women and Children.

“We’re participating in a schoolwide service learning project, and the students got a chance to vote on which one they’d work on,” Mackay said. “They talked through each option and discussed what each organization did for the community.”

By Monday, the first day of the drive, at least three classrooms had donation boxes that were nearly full. The supplies will be delivered Jan. 29.

Each student also has a list of 50 random acts of kindness, and has been encouraged to check off as many boxes on the list as possible, Mackay said.

For more information on the Great Kindness Challenge, which is a national challenge that started with just a few schools and now has more than 4,000 participating schools, visit

This is the first year that Runnels has participated in the challenge.