The seniors of St. Mary High School in Paducah with Kevin Kauffeld, president of Independence Bank in McCracken County. COURTESY OF ST. MARY SCHOOL SYSTEM
Ripple effect: St. Mary seniors do random acts of kindness for their community
BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
The seniors of St. Mary High School in Paducah recently blessed their community with random acts of kindness that have inspired them to continue spreading thoughtfulness to those they encounter.
The project was inspired by Independence Bank of McCracken County, when president Kevin Kauffeld delivered a $100 gift card to each of the school’s 16 seniors in class as part of the bank’s “Here for Good” initiative. The students were told that they needed to use these gift cards to do something kind for their local community.
The thoughtful actions included purchasing dog and cat food for the local animal shelter; giving one of the gift cards to the food pantry of St. Mary Parish in LaCenter; giving one of the gift cards to the local St. Vincent de Paul Helpline and Budget Store; using the entire gift card to tip wait staff; and paying for a variety of smoothies for random people.
Several students used their gift cards to purchase laundry detergent, baby items and other needed supplies for Hope Unlimited, a local crisis pregnancy center. One student gave his gift card to the local golf complex and told the owner to use it to pay for the golf balls for any kids 18 and under. Many used their gift cards to purchase groceries for random families.
Jack Roof, who was one of the teens to purchase supplies for Hope Unlimited, said it felt “really good to give back to the community that I have been a part of my whole life. This world has blessed me, and I so grateful for that.”
Trinity Higgins, who donated her gift card to St. Mary Parish, said you never know what others are going through, and that one small action could make someone’s week.
“I believe kind acts are contagious, and it only takes one person to start a ripple effect,” she said.
Doug Shelton, principal of St. Mary Middle and High School, called the teens a “small, but mighty, group of seniors.”
“I’m thrilled to see the impact they made in individual people’s lives throughout our community!” said Shelton. “Mr. Kauffeld and Independence Bank were tremendous to work with during this project, and I know they’re also satisfied with what this group was able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time.”
The 16 students who participated are Hannah Andersson, Mason Baker, Cade Fleming, Trinity Higgins, Thomas Humm, Loren Jones, Nayelli McDowell, Jackson Muiter, Kali Patel, Sahil Rachan, Jack Roof, Mary Smith, Maya Smith, Annalise Vandry, Lily Wilson and Rocco Zakutney.
Originally printed in the April 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.