By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
While much of the world talks about war, students at Copperopolis and Mark Twain elementary schools have been concentrating on kindness.
During Valentine's week for the past six years, the students have considered people in their lives and chosen one to write about one particular person who most exemplifies each student's "kindness hero."
"It's a spin-off of the Random Acts of Kindness Week (a national observance)," said Bernadette Smith, second-grade teacher. She and fifth-grade teacher Kathy Casas organize the essay contest each year.
Smith said she and Casas work with other teachers to help students focus on considerate, thoughtful people doing extraordinary things in the community.
However, the students cannot write about their parents.
"This kindness-hero-essay contest is so rewarding," Smith said, "because you see these invisible people suddenly having the spotlight shine on them, being recognized by children who can see such good things coming from them."
Winners are chosen by age group.
The young people and their heroes will appear at tomorrow's city council meeting at Bret Harte Performing Arts Theater.
As part of the evening's agenda, winners will read their essays to their heroes.
Eighth-graders Andrea Rochelle and Colleen Smith are two of the students reading essays tomorrow night. Andrea wrote her essay about her grandfather, retired Navy veteran Raymond Nunes.
"This is the second time I've written my kindness-hero essay about my grandpa," she said. "He's one of the kindest people I know."
Rochelle described an afternoon when her grandfather had to attend an important meeting. They were already late when they drove past an elderly man at the side of the road. The man's car had a flat tire.
"My grandpa stopped to help him. He changed the tire," she said. "And he was late to his meeting."