The Maniac Magee Award for a Legacy of Kindness

Creating a Culture of Kindness

The Maniac Magee Award for a Legacy of Kindness

By: Anita Meinbach  |

Recognizing those students, faculty, and staff who, in some way, have touched the lives of others to make a difference!

Almost 20 years ago, the Mania Magee Award for a Legacy of Kindness was born at Southwood Middle School, in Miami, Florida. As part of a thematic unit on “Heroes and Heroines,” students read the Newbery Award winning Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli about a young boy, orphaned at a young age, who became a type of folk-tale hero bringing two sides of a segregated town together in mutual understanding and appreciation.

What is unique about this award is that the recipient is chosen by the students. Each student is asked to nominate someone from the school (student, teacher, faculty member, staff member) who has done an “act of kindness” that affected him/her personally.

Fast forward, this award is still one of great significance at Southwood Middle and is still honoring a special person each year. However, the name was changed to honor a beloved guidance counselor after she passed away.

Selecting the name of the award can be a school event as students research and suggest local, national, international people or even a character in a storybook who left a “legacy of kindness.”

Procedure: Easy to implement and adapt to individual school communities as needed:

  • Introduce the award and its significance. Remind them that the person nominated doesn’t have to be in their classroom, but has to be someone who is a student or who works in the school. 
  • Teachers distribute a nomination form to each student to provide assistance as needed. You can edit this sample nomination form to meet your needs.
  • Teachers collect and go through the nominations to be sure they are “appropriate” and turn them into whomever the school designates. 
  • The person receiving the most nominations is then recognized at the school’s “Award Assembly.” (Be sure that students who were nominated receive the forms nominating them.)

Remember- there are so many ways that you and your school can bring “acts of loving kindness” (G’milut Chasadim) to the forefront of your curriculum.

Become part of the “Great Kindness Challenge.” This year the challenge was Jan. 22-22, 2018—but you can implement this throughout the year!!! 

  • Share KINDNESS MATTERS! Easy Ways YOU Can Make Your School a Kinder Place 
  • Brainstorm what students can do to make their school a kinder place. Provide time throughout the year to implement their ideas! 

  • Please share your ideas either by submitting them here or emailing [email protected].

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