Kaitlin M. Roig-Debellis, former Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher and hero, who saved her first graders in Newtown, CT in 2012, founder of a non-profit organization “Classes4Classes”, and author of the book Choosing Hope, visited the MicroSociety Academy Charter School in Nashua, NH on Friday, May 20. She came at the invitation of MACS guidance counselor, Kate Dagianis, to participate in a series of classes with students and staff that promote the school’s on-going “Kindness” initiative and a key part of the MicroSociety’s HEART strand theme. Ms. Roig-Debellis also spent the evening with MACS at the Nashua Country Club for their first annual auction gala as the guest speaker and signed copies of her new book Choosing Hope.
“One of the most important things we can pass onto our children are the values of kindness, empathy, and compassion.” That is the essence of the Heart Strand of MicroSociety Academy Charter School and the mission of the social emotional learning that the school’s guidance counselor, Kate Dagianis, shares with the students each week. “It was a seamless connection to incorporate the mission of Classes 4 Classes into our guidance lessons.” says Mrs. Dagianis. “The beauty of our collaboration continues to unfold as Classes 4 Classes inspires and enhances our social emotional learning and school community! “
On January, 19th, 2016, out of Greenwich CT, newswire.com released some exciting news for Classes 4 Classes that influenced MACS… “- Classes for Classes, Inc. (C4C), a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization announced a new collaboration with The Kraft Family Foundation. The mission of C4C is to teach children the power of kindness and compassion through their ability to gift projects to other classrooms, and inspire positive change for students across the country. As a result of this collaboration with The Kraft Family Foundation, C4C will expand to include more schools throughout New England.” MicroSociety Academy Charter School is thrilled to be paving the way as the first class in New Hampshire supporting this critical initiative. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots Football team and franchise, shares his sentiments about supporting Classes 4 Classes…
“I can’t think of a more important lesson for children to learn first hand. Even at a young age, children should be aware that we are all connected and that everyone has the power to take action and help others,” -Robert Kraft
Kate Dagianis reflects, “The students at MACS are elated and humbled by the thought of such an organization giving our small, new school an opportunity to grow closer together and showcase what makes us a really special society. One act of kindness is leading us towards something much greater and maybe bigger than we will even see this year. I believe this project and collaboration will impact our students in a way that will resonate with them for a lifetime.”
Kaitlin brought C4C to life, as she enjoyed a special day at MACS with the staff, and students, reflecting on her journey and sharing her story. We all experience difficult moments through each day and in our lives and we have the power to choose how we move forward from that moment. Students wrote about why they will choose kindness and illustrated the beauty of that choice. Student work will be displayed as a whole school mural at MACS.
“Classes 4 Classes is thrilled to expand to New Hampshire, and specifically to MACS! When I spent the day at the school, with each grade level it was very clear that it is an incredibly special place. The teachers embrace social emotional learning and its’ importance to student success. This has been led at their school by Mrs. Dagianis’, and her leadership to ensure students have a social emotional intelligence is quite admirable. We are grateful to our collaboration with Mr. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, to enable this connection! We look forward to working with MACS again next school year to help bolster what they are already doing so right.”
– Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis
In her book, Choosing Hope, Kaitlin discusses her journey from the darkness of that day and the choices she made in moving forward. “… Rather than consuming myself with the horror of what happened, I began focusing on the good that could be done, and how I might take part in collective healing … When I reached the crossroads in my journey back from that terrible day in 2012, I chose hope. And that has made all the difference.”
Kaitlin shared this message and the power of choice with the students at MACS and the supporting community at the gala event that evening. The message is simple, yet profound, and one we can all connect to. We have a choice in each difficult moment, to be defined by that moment, and be held back, or to chose hope, to see the good, listen to our inner coach, and build ourselves, and each other up.
So many wonderful people have come together to create an environment where children, programs, and collaborations can flourish. Under the leadership of Director, Amy Bottomley, and support of the board of Trustees, MACS has transcended challenges facing charter schools and set us on a great path for continuous growth. Amy Bottomley, extends her sincerest thanks to the Board of Trustees, families, and friends of MACS for making the First Annual Auction Gala a huge success raising $11,000 for the students and programs. “A special thank you to our Bronze sponsor, Bazzani Chiropractic in Nashua and numerous local business. Charter schools are underfunded compared to district public schools, and the support of our community brings programs and technologies to the students of MACS we would otherwise not have. Thank you!” – Amy Bottomley, School Director
• To support our C4C project page along with Robert Kraft, please visit C4C Project Page!
• For more information on MicroSociety Academy Charter School (MACS), please visit MACS online.
• For more information on our social emotional learning (SEL) please follow Mrs. Dagianis’ blog to stay updated on our awesome program!
• If you are interested in your child participating in our Camp Kindness, this summer, please see the schools website and sign up today!
• Signed copies of Choosing Hope are at your local bookshop – Toad Stool Bookstore