NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A father-daughter team was honored on Monday for spreading a message of kindness at a school in New Rochelle where the principal is all in on creating a positive culture.
For the 1,200 students who walk past it every day the message is simple: “One Word Can Change Someone’s Entire Day.”
The mural at Albert Leonard Middle School was created by the Minettis. Dad Larry and daughter Cassidy worked over the summer to turn a blank wall into a meaningful message.
“Middle school can be tough, so if they see a wonderful message like this that says ‘be kind’ or ‘act a certain way’ it’s positive right away, and they take some pride from that,” Larry said.
On Monday, the director of Stomp Out Bulling honored the Minettis and declared Principal John Barnes its principal of the year.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, you’d be hard pressed to find a school where the anti-bullying and pro-kindness message is more fully evident than it is at Albert Leonard. Down “Anti-Bullying Lane” there are dozens of posters urging students to celebrate their differences, use humor to defuse tense situations, and be respectful on social media.
Around the corner, “Upstander Boulevard” reflects the school’s motto: “Be An Upstander, Not A Bystander.”
“Who’s that kid that might feel left out? Who’s that kid who might that might feel like ‘oh, I need someone to reach out to me?’. So really thinking and encouraging students to think about others. You know the Golden Rule, treating others the way you want to be treated,” Barnes said.
It’s a way for the school to cultivate compassion with one word at a time.
Larry Minetti knows his way around a paintbrush. He’s an art teacher at the Fordham Leadership Academy in the Bronx.