When Maple Ridge resident Margrit Pitt heard car horns honking along Lougheed Highway Wednesday, she figured it was a protest.
But the Thomas Haney Secondary students who lined the route weren’t protesting, they were praising.
About 30 students held a streetside positivity rally, holding signs for commuters reading: “Honk if you love someone,” “Spread the love,” and “You can do it!” Their goal was to spread cheer in their community, as part of a Grade 11 and 12 leadership class.
“We want the students to be out in the community. Instead of just talking about leadership, we want them to do it,” school vice-principal and leadership teacher Kristi Blakeway said over the sounds of cars honking in the street.
“When you take time to do something positive, there’s always a ripple effect. Even if it’s a simple idea, but still profound enough that ... it could change someone’s day,” she said.
Blakeway brought the idea to her class after she was inspired by a Make DC Smile campaign launched last year by Washington, D.C., resident Massoud Adipour.
Adipour, dubbed “the prince of positivity” by U.S. media, started putting inspiration posters around his city. Then he and his friends spent Monday mornings holding signs urging commuters to “Honk if you love someone,” “Be Happy,” and “Smile.”
Blakeway said the school was fielding a number of calls from appreciative residents.
“It’s uplifting,” said student Josie Teichrob. “Just to be able to make people’s days a little happier because a lot of people have to go to work and they are not too excited about it.”
Grade 11 student Stephanie Richards said: “Leadership means doing things that other people are afraid to do, like standing out here.”
Maple Ridge residents seemed to enjoy the pep rally.
“I think it’s a very good idea,” said motorist Pitt as she encountered the signs along Lougheed. “It’s a pretty unique way to cheer people up,” agreed Kyle Mayuga, “It made me smile a bit.”
- Elaine O’Connor is a reporter with The Province
• Click here for more stories from The Province
@ Copyright 2013