Sugarcreek, Ohio - Garaway students are embracing the power of positivity this week in honor of Valentine’s Day.

High school Spanish teacher Valerie Hershberger says district students will be completing simple but meaningful daily tasks as part of the first-ever Garaway Love Challenge. She says this is something they wanted to do to encourage students to be kind to others and themselves.

“At our building 7-12, we just have it out there for the students to try to complete different challenges each day, and they’re pretty simple, like say hello to five people, talk to someone new, compliment someone, show gratitude to someone, and the last one was just to take care of yourself, mentally or physically,” she explains.

Hershberger says the challenge is based on something she saw on social media.

“There’s a website called, and they do a week that’s the end of January, I think it was like January 28th. It’s supposed to be like a national kindness week, but if your school wants to participate, they can do it any week,” she says.

Garaway’s kindness week got off to a late start when the district canceled class for the day of the Good Morning Monday challenge. Hershberger says they’ll be moving right into the other daily challenges starting with Talk Tuesday, which encourages students to talk to someone new at school. 

“[It’s] just to be aware of being kind to everyone, and not just people who are in your friends’ circle but reaching out to new people, too,” she says.

Other challenges for the week include Word Wednesday, where students are encouraged to compliment five different people. Hershberger says this small gesture that can have a really big impact on somebody’s day.

“I think complimenting people just helps them, well not so much the person who’s giving the compliments but the person who is receiving the compliment to make them feel better, or maybe it’s the one kind thing they needed to hear that day to make them have a better day if they were having a bad day,” she explains.

Hershberger says they will be encouraging students to express their gratitude for someone who has helped them during Thankful Thursday and reminding them of the importance of self-care during Don’t Forget About You Friday.

“I think just because they get so caught up in either their school work or things that might be going on at home or in their social lives, that they just need time to like step back and think about themselves and not worry so much about what other people are thinking, and not to stress out so much and to do something to help relax and take time for themselves,” she says. 

Hershberger says they are hoping to come back to the Good Morning Monday challenge to kick off next week. She says they hope the students will who complete these challenges will be inspired to incorporate some of the lessons into their daily lives. 


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