Wall of positivity

Students organize #youmatter project to remind teachers of their importance

Rachel Adamson, Editor in Chief

In light of recent negative news surrounding Tonka, students took it upon themselves to remind teachers that they are important.

To do this, Key Club organized a service project that entailed hanging positive notes about teachers on the bulletin board in the C hallway on April 21.

“It started because we were talking in class about the negative media repre- sentation that we’ve [Tonka] been getting so much of and it just seems to never stop,” Key Club adviser Carrie Marcanto- nio said. “The students were talking about how they can’t catch a break but at least they get to leave in four years. They started to really internalize what that would mean for a teacher who is like a 30-year veteran.”

Teachers were sent an email at 1 p.m. informing them of the wall and were en- couraged to stop by to take a look.

“I saw it right at one, when it was starting. I’ll tell you how important I thought it was; I had an ACT prep class at that time and we did a tour. I said ‘come see this’ and the way I put it to my stu- dents is ‘this is how you make the world a better place,’” math teacher Vickie McGiffin said. “A couple of my students went to the table where Mrs. Marcantonio had the supplies out and most of my students wrote one [note] to a teacher.”

Juniors Karen Fernandez and Dara Fitzmaurice helped all day to ensure that students had the opportunity to thank their teachers by writing a note. According to Fernandez, her hard work payed off.

“We came back after the pep assem- bly and there were a lot of teachers standing there and looking for their name,” Fernandez said. “They were smiling and some were getting emotional because it meant a lot to them and I think it really boosted their self-esteem.”

For McGiffin, the wall shines some positive light into the hallways of Tonka.

“First of all, it brought back my Winnetonka pride. I am really glad to be here. It’s been a tough year for not only the stu- dents but the teachers as well,” McGiffin said. “The students just took my breath away. I am in awe of the students and to be quite honest, grateful. I have a couple of notes up there and it meant the world to me to know that we make an impact on students, especially this year when things have been so tough.”

To Marcantonio, the #youmatter wall serves as a reminder to the Tonka community that they are more than what is being portrayed in the media.

“I just think the students really care about the sta here and I think the sta really cares about the students and that’s why we’re such a family,” Marcantonio said. “We’re so resilient, we can take what’s coming because we know that that’s not Tonka and that other people outside don’t understand because it’s a Tonka thing and we stick together.”