With the one-year mark of the Marshall County High School shooting being Jan. 23, the county school system and the Facilitators of Community Unity/Support (FOCUS) have worked to fill the month with kindness.
Schools around the district will individually address their acts and days of kindness throughout the month, but Ledonia Williamson, Marshall County Schools' recovery coordinator, hopes that the community at large will join in as well.
"We're not forgetting at all about the tragedy of Jan. 23," Williamson said. "We just want everyone to focus on the good and do nice things for each other throughout the month and make it a positive month instead of focusing on the sadness from last year's event."
Williamson, herself, is distributing fliers around the community with suggestions for acts of kindness during the month of January, including letting someone go in front of you in line; donating old towels or blankets to animal shelters; putting your phone away in the company of others' writing a kind message on the mirror to yourself or others; and complimenting strangers.
Williamson, who formed FOCUS with several other community members, as aided in the planning of some remembrance events on the day of the one-year mark.
At 7:30 a.m. in the MCHS cafeteria, a catered breakfast will be held for all first responders and agencies that responded to the call last year. According to Williamson, Marshall County Board Office employees and the board members themselves will serve the meal.
A 6 p.m. in Mike Miller Park, FOCUS will hold a "time of remembrance but also of fellowship," Williamson said. Several local church groups have offered to bring snacks, hot chocolate and coffee for attendees.
Both of the events will be low key, Williamson explained, because of the results of multiple surveys distributed around the community stating a desire for an event on the day that wasn't a "circus."
While those events are open to the public and the students are welcome to join them both, the high school will be holding its own observances that day.
Beginning with an assembly in the gymnasium, Principal Patricia Greer and Superintendent Trent Lovett will address the student body. The students, Williamson explained, will have the option to bring their parents or guardians with them for the morning assembly. Following the assembly, students will have a half-day of classes.
Around lunch, students will have the opportunity to break off into a variety of activities. Each of the students has varying needs for healing and conquering that day, Williamson said, so the student committee and school administration tried to plan a day that could accommodate everyone's needs whether that was quiet time, a card game or a cuddle session with a therapy dog.
"We always want to remember but we also want to be appreciative of the community and friends we have," she said.
For more information on the month of kindness or any of the remembrance events planned for Wednesday, contact Williamson at 270-527-3871 or email email@example.com.