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SCHOOL – “Showing kindness, and breaking world records, one paper link chain at a time”

GARLAND – By Cari Doutre – February 5, 2021

Torie Cutler, center, and students at Garland Elementary, Jan. 29, 2021 - Photo by

Showing kindness to others will never be put on hold at Garland Elementary School – even during a pandemic. Instead, the school has found new ways to show kindness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the third year in a row Garland Elementary School has joined the Great Kindness Challenge initiative that promotes “One Week. One Checklist. Infinite Happiness.” Although this year’s checklist challenge was modified to meet COVID-19 guidelines, it didn’t stop students from showing kindness to everyone around them.

“We are kindness from a distance,” said Torie Cutler, librarian at Garland Elementary School.

For the week of January 25-29, Garland Elementary School included a different theme for every day for students, teachers and staff were able to participate in activities full of acts of kindness.

Not included this year's Kindness Week was a school-wide assembly to kick-off the week. Instead, Marcia Wilson, Garland Elementary School counselor, and Cutler, made their own virtual assembly together that was shown to every class – even those students learning online this year.

“We’re making it work for what we’ve got. We tell the kids all the time ‘we’re flexible and we can adjust.’ It’s still been fun even though it hasn’t been the same. We made it fun,” Wilson said about this year’s Kindness Week activities.

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Garland Elementary School, Jan. 29, 2021 - Photo by

Just to make 2021 something special that students will remember, Kids for Peace, the organization behind The Great Kindness Challenge, invited Garland Elementary School to participate in helping them break the Guinness World Record for the longest paper chain.

“They are trying to get to 110 miles. The previous record was 55.3 miles. So, we’re not only beating it, we’re doubling it,” Cutler said.

The invitation alone to be a part of this record-breaking challenge was exciting enough for everyone at Garland Elementary.

“It was so fun because here at the school we talk about a lot of wonders and we love those books,” Cutler said about the invitation.

The school has pledged to do a quarter mile of their own paper chain links but with an added element perfectly matched for the week.

On those slips of paper that were chained together were messages of hope, kindness and encouragement written by students at Garland Elementary.

“Because it’s linked by love and because it’s for the Kindness Challenge,” Wilson said.

“It’s been heartwarming to be able to read as we’re stapling these together all the things these kids have put. One kid put ‘this world can’t be that bad if you’re in it,’” she added.

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Garland Elementary School, Jan. 29, 2021 - Photo by

Pictures of individual classes with students holding a portion of the paper chain were taken to commemorate the big event. It was just one of the many ways they were able to meet COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions currently in place at the school. They can be found below, along with others of Kindness Week, courtesy of Garland Elementary.

For more on Kindness Week at Garland Elementary, check out’s interview with Wilson and Cutler that aired during the Feb. 1, 2021, “Valley Headliners” with weekly newscast.

Check it all out HERE!

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Photos courtesy of Garland Elementary School


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