Local Students Treat Each Other the “Wildcat Way”

INWOOD, IOWA- It’s been 20 years since the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. It’s an event that had a lasting effect on communities around the country, including on one Iowa high school.

It only takes one small act of kindness to start a big chain reaction.

“Sometimes people feel like they are alone, but you’re not. You have so many people around you that care about you and just by showing that kindness it can just bring so much joy to someone,” said West Lyon High School Senior Madysn Grotewold.

Which is why at West Lyon High School students focus on treating each other “The Wildcat Way.” Throughout the year, groups of students plan different activities to focus on making everyone feel welcome and safe at school. Such as writing personal encouraging notes to each student.

“Not everyone thinks they have a voice in this world and I think it’s important to tell them that they do because everyone really does and everyone has a purpose in this world and they should all know that and find that purpose and everyone needs encouragement to get to know that,” said Senior Erica Meyer.

It’s turned into a positive chain reaction that has spread throughout the school.

“I like how you can see growth in our school. You can definitely tell that people are feeling more welcome because I’ve talked to a lot of younger kids that I never would have talked to if I wasn’t in this,” said Senior Miranda Wieker.

This chain reaction was represented at a school assembly. The junior high and high school students held up a paper chain with kind acts that have happened to students in the past couple weeks.

“Doing the chain really showed how all of them can be connected, to show the strength of our school and how each one makes our school stronger,” said Meyer.

“It was just like a moment you know like wow our school did this, our school was able to accomplish that and it was bigger than we thought it was going to be,” said Senior Madison Hage.

The Wildcat Way has transformed the way students treat each other. They say they’ll continue to grow this chain reaction throughout the rest of the school year.

The Wildcat Way was inspired by a Colorado organization called Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel Scott was the first person shot and killed at Columbine. She was known for her kindness.

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