Sayings such as "Have a nice day" or "Keep smiling" often go unnoticed or unappreciated in our busy lives. But Samantha Bremmer, an eighth-grade student at , is using the messages to bring positive energy back into the classroom.
While most of her friends were enjoying a much-needed winter break from classes, Samantha - with fellow eighth-grader Ashley Sobczak helping her in the end complete the project - spent her time personally writing 820 messages on Post-it Notes to put on students' lockers.
Samantha, who attached the notes to lockers throughout the school earlier this month, said the idea came after she watched numerous videos focused on anti-bullying.
"I just thought of it out of the blue after watching videos of so many people saying mean things to others," she explained. "Some people need encouragement to get through the day, and I thought it would be nice to leave a positive comment for everyone."
Samantha said she has not been a victim of bullying but that she has seen it firsthand among friends and classmates.
"Usually, my friends come to me when something is bothering them," she said. "It hurts me to see other people being mean. I feel real bad when I hear other students making mean comments."
Samantha's mother, Linda Bremmer, said she was "flabbergasted" when she heard about the project.
"I am so proud of her," Bremmer said. "Samantha is always sticking up for other people. She always intervenes and takes it upon herself to help someone else.
"You never know what happens in kids' lives outside of school, so if this makes them happy for a day or a minute, it's worth it."
Mill Creek teacher Val Berryman said it's nice to see students encouraging each other at the school.
"What a nice way to start the new year," Berryman wrote in an email to Samantha. "We could all use a little positive encouragement."
Teacher Juliane Snider agreed.
"What a kind and community-building gesture. And I must wonder, what would happen to any of us if we would take the time and effort to write 800 nice thoughts?" Snider said. "I'm sure Samantha won't regret this. In fact, she might find this the start to a life of making a difference."
Samantha and Ashley acknowledged that transitioning from elementary school to middle school is often complicated and can open students up to bullying.
"Middle school is about trying to fit in and learning how to find your group of friends," Ashley said. "That can lead to drama. A lot of times, kids are trying to figure out who they are in middle school."
Samantha said she is looking forward to the remainder of the school year and hopes her project will remind students about the importance of respecting others.
"Our message is clear: Have a good day, don't let people judge you, and don't let others hurt you," she said.
For her efforts, Samantha was selected as one of the Huffington Post's "Greatest People." Samantha will be featured on the website alongside other individuals across the United States who have been recognized in their communities.