gem-dec-2016We gathered in Colman Hall to recognize the students who had been selected by their peers and teachers as young people who truly exemplified the Christian GEM quality of “kindness.” Before introducing our guest speakers I told the students that it is often said that kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. If that’s really true, we all need to use that language more often. At various times during the winter we have a flu epidemic, or during the spring we might have a measles epidemic. I think it would be very nice if we could have a “kindness epidemic”…just lots of rampant, wide-spread acts of kindness all over the place. I doubt seriously anyone would mind that type of infection being passed from person to person.

Very often we don’t realize how encouraging words, a simple smile, a listening ear, displays of emotion and concern, or the smallest act of caring can mean so much to someone else. One kind word or deed can change someone’s entire day, or even their life. Two graduates of SSJ, Stefanie da Silva (’07) and Sabrina da Silva (’13), are living examples of that, and it all began here at SSJ with their involvement in simple Christian service projects. Several years ago they realized that there are entire countries living in poverty, and all they wanted to do was help. In 2015, they had the opportunity to visit an orphanage in Africa as volunteers. They helped to build new homes for the orphans, played with the children in the orphanages, and helped to feed the babies who rewarded them with the biggest smiles. Along the way, they encountered people who lived the most difficult lives, but who were thrilled by the very simplest of things. Both Stefanie and Sabrina expressed that, in the end, they felt they had received much more than they had given. One of their beliefs they shared with us: “It’s not difficult for us to lend a hand. We have two hands; one for me and one for you.” That pretty much says it all.

The students we recognized at our assembly are members in our community who couldn’t possibly care more for everyone around them! They don’t need a reason to help someone else; it’s just who they are. They constantly give to others in the form of hope, compassion, understanding, peace, forgiveness, strength, motivation, friendship and love. We are so very blessed to have them with us!

  • TYKE – Guiseppe Turner
  • Kgn. Bonny – Giulietta Berger
  • Kgn. Tucker – Katie Nguyen
  • Grade 1A – John Guerin
  • Grade1B – Juliana Akoubian
  • Grade 2A – Giovanni Turner
  • Grade 2B – Vincent Meza
  • Grade 3A – Malia McNamara
  • Grade 3B – Lauren Zazueta
  • Grade 4A – Gianna Mascoli
  • Grade 4B Elliotte Clemente
  • Grade 5A – Victoria Bogart
  • Grade 5B – Daniel Hong
  • Grade 6A – Quinlan Persinger
  • Grade 6B – Madeline Joyce
  • Grade 7A – Nolan Turk
  • Grade 7B – Brian Lawhead
  • Grade 8A – David Wurzell
  • Grade 8B – Jessica Porras