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‘Try and be nice like this more often’

When Lucy Schilthroat and her friends were playing basketball in the gym, they noticed a classmate sitting by himself and decided to invite him to play.

“He was all alone, and we wanted to make sure he was welcome,” Lucy said. “He’s shy and doesn’t always ask to join, so we decided to make sure that he knew he was welcome with us, to be our friend too.”

Colton Stahl was recommended because he started picking up trash on his way in from recess (Courtesy Thornapple Kellogg Schools)

For Principal Gregg Bruno, that action deserved a call home to Lucy’s parents.

This year Bruno has started “TK Strong Call of the Day.” Any staff member can nominate a student who has gone above and beyond expectations to receive a special call home.

During his phone call to Lucy’s dad, John, Bruno said that he should be proud of his daughter’s actions. 

“I’m proud of your daughter and her friends for, in a world where they can be anything, choosing to be kind,” Bruno said on the call.

Principal Gregg Bruno explains to Lucy Schilthroat on their way to the office why she was chosen for the TK Strong Call of the Day

“A lot of times when the principal calls school families, there is a bit of a pause as they anticipate something negative,” he said. “I figured that calling with something positive on a regular basis could help change that.”

This new practice often catches parents off guard in the best way, Bruno said.

Though the practice is new to Page Elementary, Bruno started the program two years ago at the school where he was principal before coming to Thornapple Kellogg. The phone calls home are another way of fostering an increased climate of positivity, he said.

“You can hear the joy on the other end of the phone, and see it visibly on the students face when they’re standing there during the call. Based on that alone I’d say it’s an overwhelming success.”

Bruno’s goal for the year is to have a positive phone call home every day, a goal that he thinks he should have no problem meeting.

Principal Gregg Bruno called Lucy Schilthroat’s parents when she invited another student who was alone to play basketball with her friends

“We have no shortage of students who deserve this.”

Outside of the obvious positives of the calls home, they allow Bruno to make connections with the Page community.

“I meet parents in the hall who tell me how nice it was to get a call home, (and) that’s a lasting connection,” he said.

For the rest of the school year, Lucy said she plans to do as many nice things as she can and think of others.

“My friends and I are going to try and be nice like this more often,” she said. “You never know how much it means to them, and it feels really good.”

Principal Gregg Bruno calls Lucy Schilthroat’s parents to tell them of her honor
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Hannah Lentz
Hannah Lentz
A 2017 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a lifelong teacher’s kid, Hannah Lentz has worked as a journalist in and outside the Grand Rapids area for more than five years. After serving as editor-in-chief at the GVSU student newspaper, Hannah interned at the Leelanau Enterprise where she learned a lot about community journalism. In addition to her work for School News Network, Hannah has worked as a freelance blogger in the furniture industry, focusing on design trends, and as a social media manager for World Medical Relief in Detroit.


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