Making Bigger Better
People who know Kell High School teacher Ben Needle might say his motto could be, “Go big or go home!” But not for the reason you might think. Ben is a second-year Chick-fil-A Leader Academy Facilitator who understands the importance of urging big ideas in concert with great intentions.
“I push my kids to GO BIG,” explained Ben. “But I also want them to realize that sometimes going big is not as tough as one might think. Many times, it just takes making a commitment to seeing a great idea transfer from intention into action.”
This year’s Big Thank You Service Project challenged students to thank someone who has made an impact on their life and to do it publicly.
Ben asked his students to take hold of that idea — and do it as a team.
The students’ response was to pool their thank-yous and express appreciation for the school’s faculty. The first part of their plan was easy. It was Election Day and a teacher workday. With no classes scheduled for the day, students could get to the school early and surprise teachers and staff with signs and words of thanks.
But Ben wasn’t satisfied. He issued an immense challenge: Get your sleepy friends out of bed to join you. This single act would turn a 30-person effort into a 100-person event.
Students sprang into action and made it happen. Before teachers arrived, 100 smiling students poured out of cars, carrying posters and messages of thanks to bleary-eyed teachers arriving that morning. What a surprise it was for the teachers. These students cared enough to sacrifice their “free day” off of school to thank and show appreciation for their teachers.
“It made me feel great about what I do. There were students I didn’t know saying thanks. I saw several of my own students there who wrote personal messages of thanks to me on posters.” “I still have the pictures on my phone that I took with students that morning!,” said Ann Tucker, Kill High School English teacher.