Todd Fifth Grader Aims to Spread Positivity

Ryan Russin

Sometimes it takes just one person to make a difference. Ryan Russin, a fifth grader in Amanda Schwartz’s class at Todd Elementary, has recently begun a project that is meant to uplift other students and, according to him, help them feel better about themselves.

The project involves Ryan reading an inspirational positive quote each week on the school loudspeaker and also encouraging other students to submit quotes of their own.

“Every week I go on the loudspeaker and say a quote and also draw a picture for that quote and hang it up. Then everybody drops off their own quotes,” he said.

Students drop off post-it notes with quotes that they selected, and Ryan hangs them up on a wall at the entrance to the school. According to him, people come up with quotes from Google, a TV show or a book that they read.

“I get a lot of quotes from books,” he said.

His current favorite quote is originally from Dale Carnegie’s Book, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” Paraphrased, it is “Two men looked outside. One saw the mud, the other saw the stars.”

Positivity wall

“It means that one saw the world as a negative place while the other saw it as a positive place,” Ryan explained and added that he can relate to that quote.

“I would say I am somewhere in the middle. Sometimes I have my bad moments, sometimes I have my good moments,” he said.

Ryan hopes that looking at the quotes on the board can uplift students.

“I hope kids feel good about themselves when they see the board with the messages,” he said.

So far, the board seems to have had a positive effect on students.

“I like this idea,” Taylor, a fourth grader, said as she was reading the quotes on the board.

“I think it’s a good idea for other kids to see the quotes,” said Samantha, another fourth grader. “It makes kids more confident and can help them learn better.”

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