Each day there are students making a difference in the community from silent acts of kindness to large-scale, community-wide movements. What began as a small thought for the Miller Family of Miller Farms Family Markets evolved into an anticipated and honored award for recipients across the Four-Town Region that has since partnered with the North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce (NCCCC) and other local area businesses to bring this award to fruition.
The North Central Act of Kindness (NCAOK) Award is an adaption of an award that originated in 2014 as an anti-bullying campaign in collaboration with the Enfield School System and quickly evolved into a cherished award ceremony commemorating students in Enfield, Somers and Suffield. The Award is designed to honor students who regularly display redeeming qualities like civic awareness, commitment, kindness and care towards others. The NCAOK Award recognizes leadership and commitment rather than scholastics or athletics. Each student honored is given a personalized award plaque for their good deeds, a donation is made in their name to a charitable organization of their choice and they are recognized in front of their peers and parents during a monthly gathering to celebrate. This year brings with it unique challenges and virtual presentations have been introduced as well.
It is the school administrators, teachers and community members who take the time to nominate a respective candidate who displays the theme of “kindness,” and the NCCCC shares their stories through the news, social media and in person by meeting with students and peers. To encourage kindness within the student population, their photos and stories also hang in their school hallways for other passing students to admire. The most recent students nominated from Suffield High School were Ashley Seger and Claire Cronin.
The students share a common thread, and that is making their school and community a better place through unnoticed daily acts of kindness and compassion. Ashley Seger was nominated for being a leader in the classroom and offering help to her classmates. Claire Cronin’s selfless actions and involvement in the Best Buddies Club was the reason behind her nomination. Their full stories and the charities they chose can be viewed at the NCCCC or MorningBird Media Facebook Page.
Last year alone, this award recognized about 60 students in Enfield, Somers and Suffield and donated almost $3,000 to 52 charities locally and around the world.