Hopi Elementary School put its creative thinking cap on when it came to this year’s variety show. Instead of focusing on talent acts, the school decided to share good deeds and service acts around the community. They called it the Hopi Good News Network.
Liz Ord, one of three network directors supporting students throughout the project, said the idea was born last summer when it became clear that the annual variety show wouldn’t proceed as planned.
“This event is such a special and longstanding tradition,” Ord said. “We were determined to come up with something that would capture all of the good the variety show has provided for Hopi kids, their families and our community for so many years.”
The organizers reimagined the event and launched the Hopi Good News Network in its place, where instead of having kids perform on stage, they were asked to perform acts of kindness.
“We hoped that families would turn their talents and their resources outward to bring smiles to audiences who could use some good news,” Ord said. “Our goal with HGNN was to help Hopi kids realize that while they can’t change the tough news happening in the world, they can be a force for positivity in their little neck of the woods.”
Families were asked to submit pictures and videos highlighting their service acts to be used in the Hopi Good News broadcast. The community turned up in a big way after the tradition shifted to a new format, with over 100 families participating. Even the faculty joined in, as Principal Tamara Jagodzinski and Vice Principal Amanda Rand performed acts of service with their own families and submitted content for the broadcast.
Some acts of kindness included making hygiene kits for the Welcome to America Project, delivering flowers to neighbors and supporting frontline workers and volunteers with goodie bags. Students shared messages of hope throughout the community and then got to work preparing the news broadcast. Typically, the variety show has student emcees, but this year 12 students were selected from fifth grade classrooms to serve as official HGNN anchors.
The broadcast will be aired to the students in early May, with a special drive-in movie night planned for parents and family members.
Hopi parent Allison Clark is looking forward to the broadcast after helping her kindergarten daughter Hannah with her project – filling a wagon full of trash bags and hand wipes to pick up litter along three miles of canal.
“Hannah was all smiles during our service project. She loved getting to show her big sign to cars, joggers and bikers as they passed by,” Clark said. “We got two friendly honks, one car made a fast U-turn to thank us for making the neighborhood even more beautiful, and another car stopped to give Hannah a $20 tip.” In the spirit of giving, Hannah chose to donate the $20 right back to Hopi.
Many other students shared similar fun experiences, including 6-year-old Rosie Frederickson, who made 50 sack lunches for a homeless shelter alongside her sister Stellie and cousin Lucy.
“When we made all of those PB&Js, my tummy was really, really growling,” Rosie said. “I kept thinking, ‘Oh, boy! The super hungry people we’re making these for are definitely going to love eating them.’ Knowing that made me so happy inside!”
Eleven-year-old Chloe Seidenberg, one of the HGNN anchors, said the broadcast is the perfect way to finish off the project.
“It feels so good to be able to share some great news with my school when people need it most,” Chloe said. “It makes me feel so special to know that I got picked to share so many stories about others doing amazing things.”