Secret mission spreads hope, love throughout area


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Students at St. Mary's School have spread good will through inspiring messages throughout the area.

VIERA VOICE photo

St. Mary’s School students have been on a secret mission this month spreading hope and love throughout Rockledge, Viera and Merritt Island.

Project Cougar Kindness, named after the school mascot, had students placing more than 1,000 post it notes in businesses and public spaces with unsigned messages inspiring joy, love and hope.

The notes read: You are Amazing, You are Loved, You are one of a kind, You’re braver than you think, and God loves you among others.

“The students wanted to spread some love during these times of negativity,” said eighth-grade teacher Nancy Potchka, who helped the students organize.

Middle school students in the National Junior Honor Society led the effort, but students as young as first grade participated by creating the notes and sticking them everywhere from bathroom doors to store shelves. Police stations, fire stations and senior living communities weren’t left out either. More than 1,000 notes were delivered from Feb. 1 through Valentine’s Day.

“I wrote the notes to make peoples' day, encourage many people, and to raise people's attitudes,” said sixth-grader Austin Munchbach.

“The kids at St. Mary's Catholic School wrote a bunch of encouraging notes to spread love and joy to the people in our community,” she said.

The students completed the notes with the help of their teachers. Students then asked parents to help with the deliveries. Kat Deane, a parent of two children at the school, set up a Facebook group to help parents organize and make sure the love notes were spread throughout the community and not just in
one location.

“We wanted everyone to know how amazing our community is and we did just that with kindness notes,” Deane said. “We are all children of God and this was a fantastic way to spread love to one another in honor of our Saint Valentine.”

Denise Yelvington drove her children, second-grader Kate and fifth-grader Luke, to The Avenue Viera to make their secret deliveries.

“We love the Cougar Kindness Project,” Yelvington said. “There's been so much negativity in the news lately and this has been a way to remind people that we should be kind and love one another.”

Principal Sandy Basinger said the project was a good one to help students see how they can make a difference in the community. 

“We not only teach our students about math, science and English,” Basinger said. “We teach the whole child and this wonderful project is an example of students learning a lesson and wanting to spread it around. We are all part of this community and we all need to take care of each other. Sometimes that’s as easy as a simple word of kindness. I couldn’t be more proud of our students.”