Lead the way

Students at Polk Middle School started a challenge to build positivity in their school.

Students at Ted Polk Middle School have created a new online challenge to combat the recent “Devious TikTok Challenge” that has gone viral on social media.

Students in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program created the #LeadTheWayChallenge by using the school’s motto to build a sense of school culture. For the challenge, students are creating videos to model acts of kindness and leadership.

“I asked our AVID students what they could do to combat this,” Polk Principal Kelly O’Sullivan said. “They always do best with real world problems. They put their heads together and created the lead the way challenge. They made videos modelling kindness and community service where they help peers out, make the right decision in the right moment and take care of their school. It just started catching on.”

O’Sullivan said the AVID students got excited about creating the challenge.

“In the middle of all of this, it was National Custodians’ Day,” she said. “That took it up another level, and they reached out and served the schools throughout the day. They modeled that for our younger kids. That was the beginning and the core of the Lead the Way Challenge.”

With the help of the district, O’Sullivan has shared the students’ videos and information about the challenge through Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, the challenge has become a school-wide endeavor.

“It's gaining a lot of attention,” she said. “They are going to challenge another group to keep it going each month. This upcoming month, they challenged our journalism team. We're hoping they'll keep it going.”

O’Sullivan said while other schools are asking about the challenge, Polk is still the only participant.

“We are noticing more and more schools doing these acts of kindness,” she said. “We believe it is having an impact in our community. Our parents have commented about it as well as our teachers.”

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