On Monday 18 to Friday 22 January, BGS held its very first Kindness Week. The main themes of the week included hospitality, generosity, and caring for others, with pupils across all year groups participating in a number of activities and assemblies to promote kindness at our school. Although it was unexpected for Kindness Week to occur during lockdown, it perhaps couldn’t have come at a better time. Following what was for many, a difficult year, 2021 brought not only a third lockdown, but new uncertainties about this year’s outcomes. Nonetheless, BGS pupils and staff have responded with incredible resilience, a positive and progressive attitude, and with the kindness to support others in the community. BGS Kindness Week served as an apt reminder of the importance of kindness, and the remarkable impact it can have on others.
Kindness Week was host to several projects and challenges, allowing members of the BGS community to encourage and demonstrate kindness from home. Year 7 prefects created a whole school kindness quiz, featuring trivia on celebrities’ charitable contributions to society. Meanwhile, House prefects coordinated and led their respective House assemblies, filming their random acts of kindness, such as unloading the dishwasher and helping siblings with homework. On Thursday 21 January, pupils and teachers delivered a whole school assembly on the ‘science of kindness’. The assembly featured one pupils from each year group (Year 7–Upper Sixth) asking questions to the Biology department, in order to prove or disprove the hypothesis that humans are ‘genetically engineered to be kind’. The investigation concluded that kindness stems from ‘a blend of nature and nurture’ and that we all maintain the capacity within ourselves to be kind.
The message certainly prompts thoughts of altruism and selflessness, and is particularly poignant at this time with the recent passing of Sir Captain Tom Moore: an ex-British army officer who raised over £30 million for the NHS in 2020. An astounding role-model to us all, his memory leaves a great impression on all members of BGS – showing that anyone can make a positive impact.
Celebrating kindness did not just stop with Kindness Week. Throughout January, BGS also held a competition, open to students in Years 7–9, who were tasked with the challenge of writing a short story, poem, or creating a piece of art based on the stimulus: ‘What Kindness Means to You’. This year's winners were Rozi (whose artwork is pictured above), Sam and Saba from Year 7 and Miranda in Year 8.
As an Upper Sixth-former, looking back on my time at BGS, I can remember when headmaster Mr Barot joined the school in 2018, and the three principles: kindness, integrity and rigour, being marked as the core values of our school. These represent the priorities of pupils and staff at BGS, allowing us to conduct ourselves in an honourable and righteous way. The values promote a positive school culture, both inside and outside of the classroom, and as pupils move through the school, they act as a guide, prompting self-awareness, discipline, and gratitude. Kindness in particular teaches us a lot about how to navigate our way, not only through school, but also through life: Forming long-lasting friendships, building character, and shaping us into the best versions of ourselves we can be. I am thus proud to be part of an institution, where above all else, we are always willing to choose kindness.
Belnice Helena Nzinga, U6