Stretched along Kyrene Centennial Middle School’s track on Saturday for the district’s first Acts of Kindness event, Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary students raked in a paper chain with more than 3,000 links representing random acts of kindness.

Stemming from the district-wide program, Rachel’s Challenge, the students were inspired to spread kindness through small, everyday acts and wrote them down on scraps of paper making chain links.

Students from six schools within the Kyrene School District attended the May 4 event.

“It’s so neat to see how excited the kids and teachers are, and they’re seeing a difference in their schools already,” said Greg Stainton, president of the Tempe Diablos.

Through a partnership with the district and 3TV, the Diablos have brought Rachel’s Challenge to all Kyrene middle schools and some of its elementary schools. This year the organization is working on a grant that would help bring the anti-bullying program that promotes spreading “chain reactions” of kindness to Tempe Union High School and Tempe Elementary school districts.

During the celebration Saturday, the chain links from six schools were coiled up in pinwheel shapes on Centennial’s gym floor before being taken outside. The colorful links on different textures and types of paper were written with simple acts like buying Jamba Juice for someone, helping an elder cross the street, speaking kind words to classmates, and thousands more.

The six district schools brought nearly 10,000 chain links combined to the celebration.

“It says a lot about our district and our kids, they are the ones pushing it,” said Centennial Principal Ev Michell.

Most of the paper links will be displayed in the district’s governing board room for staff to see.

“The impact that this could potentially have on the whole community is just amazing,” said Kyrene Superintendent Dr. David Schauer.

For more information about Rachel’s Challenge, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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