Schools in the Mat-Su are encouraging their students to be nicer to another.

Wasilla Middle School is one of several participating in the national Great Kindness Challenge this week.

At lunch, students lined up to fill out kindness cards to show their friends how they feel.

"You are one of my Best Friend(s) Forever," one girl wrote.

This is Wasilla Middle's second year taking part in the challenge. Palmer High School students also emphasized kindness during a walkout last year following January 2018's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The Wasilla students said the challenge is a fun way to make everyone feel included and welcome at school.

"If people are having a bad day and you give them a hug, maybe it will make them feel a little better about their day and bring them up a little," said eighth grader Grace Martzall.

"It's important because sometimes we forget to be kind to each other," said eighth grader Hannah Daniel. "Society can get in the way of how we treat each other."

Students can complete a challenge checklist that includes tasks like making someone laugh, holding a door open or thanking a bus driver.

Wasilla Middle is a "trauma sensitive" school, which means staff are more aware of how adverse childhood experiences affect how kids learn.

Guidance counselor Tyann Nelson said the kindness week is about changing the overall climate at the school.

"It gets them more engaged and makes kids feel more welcome," Nelson said.

The students are also raising money for the United Way. At the end of the week, the grade level that's donated the most Kindness Koins will receive an ice cream party.

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