By: Haley White
Every day, students at Grandville High School pass by posters, signs, and even an art piece representing the Be Nice committee. However, the majority of the students at Grandville don’t know why or how this organization came about and the significance of it.
To look into the Be Nice organization, each letter in the word “Nice” represents a different action that Be Nice stands for. The “N” stands for notice such as noticing one anothers mental health and noticing when something is wrong or right. “I” stands for invite; the importance of inviting others and yourself to make sure someone you know is doing okay mentally. “C” signifies challenge; challenge the stigma surrounding mental illness and to get help if you feel you are struggling. “E” symbolizes empowerment; empower yourself and others with the knowledge that you have an effect on how a person thinks or acts.
So really, what is the purpose behind the organization? Why did it start? The principal of Grandville High has some words on the matter; “It’s an action to help and meant to take the stigma of mental health and talk about it, and now I believe it’s more socially acceptable among the school and other areas as well.” It is evident that the Be Nice committee has allowed students around GHS and many other school districts to come together and recognize mental health more. The president of the Be Nice committee, Mrs. Koza, has similar words about the purpose of the Be Nice organization, “I think Be Nice has helped many students learn more about mental health, feel more comfortable in talking about mental health, and generally, in helping create a positive environment around school. It’s been a welcoming and safe club to a lot of students to participate in too! Since most of our Grandville students have been exposed to Be Nice since elementary school, I also think it has really ingrained us to notice, invite, challenge and empower one another!”
As for the history of the committee, Mrs Koza states, “Be Nice was started by our school board president, Christy Buck. She created the program to help teach students about mental health and give them tools to help identify when a classmate is struggling. In the last 10 years or so, it has grown into various student-led groups that work to bring mental health awareness into schools.”
The Be Nice wall itself was put up through the company fast signs. It cost $1,200, however it was donated through a grant. It was put up during the spring of 2020, while students were out due to COVID reasons. Mrs. Koza states that it was, “ a really cool surprise for everyone once we returned.” Overall, Be Nice has allowed students to recognize mental health more in not only themselves, but their peers as well.