Rylann Hoopert’s efforts to encourage kindness and prevent bullying as part of the Healthy Harold Hundred have inspired his classmates.
A group of Kalkie State School students and teachers have now registered their own team and are holding a running club each morning as part of the challenge, as well as sharing the message with colourful posters throughout the school.
Kalkie State School classroom teacher for Years 1 and 4, Matt Jones, said when he heard about Rylann’s efforts he wanted to support him to achieve his goals.
“To watch Rylann and other students showing initiative by extending their learning outside the classroom and into the community really goes to show that the school is generating creative kids,” he said.
“We know that messages are more powerful when they come from children to children, so I wanted to organise a run club to help him see that students can make a change through their ideas and hard work.
“The message of the fundraiser is important as Healthy Harold is a public figure; he has made a positive influence not only on students but also their families and parents have an appreciation of the messages that Healthy Harold communicates and some of the families even remember Life Education from when they were at school.
“It also shows the community that we are taking on the social/emotional wellbeing of the community and promoting healthy interactions between humans.”
The students have an opportunity to join the school’s running club and this will run every morning before school and contribute to their running total of kilometres.
There will also be a walking group for those students who want to participate but do not wish to run.
“I know how important running is to my own personal health and wellbeing so thought it was a great way to not only get students active in the morning but also prepare them for learning in the classroom,” he said.
“This fundraiser in conjunction with our health and wellbeing program is instilling the understanding of the definition of bullying and strategies to deal with social issues.
“The students responded to the message of kindness and how that was a key to stamping out bullying with Rylann creating a poster with the principal with the slogan ‘Kindness is cool at Kalkie State School’.
“Another student came up with the plan that ‘Bullying No Way Day’ should be important for not only one day of the year, it should be a continual focus and this is being discussed within the student council meetings and they are planning fresh ideas to promote the message of kindness and stamping out bullying.”
The Healthy Harold Hundred is open to Queenslanders of all ages, and challenges participants to walk, run or ride 100 kilometres in 20 days, from 5 to 24 May, to raise important funds for Life Education Queensland’s work in schools including the charity’s respectful relationships programs.
CEO Michael Fawsitt said it was a great way for adults and families to make a positive difference, and the response so far had been amazing.
Rylann’s mum Sky said his efforts showed how kind-hearted and ambitious he was.
“Taking part in this challenge has really allowed him to open up and express his kind-hearted spirit,” she said.
“When he heard that one in four children are bullied on a regular basis, he wanted to be involved in helping make things better straight away because putting an end to all types of bullying has become something he really cares about.
“His fundraising has been going really well as so many friends and loved ones have jumped in to support him and even a small business has kindly donated.
“Rylann feels so genuinely grateful for all of the support that he has received so far, and he has been taking the time to send thank you emails to everyone who sponsors him in the challenge.
“Rylann was fantastic on his first day of running and remains determined, committing to complete the 100km on his own to the very end while all of us watch on and support him.
“Kalkie State School principal Malinda Findlay was proud of his initiative to do the Healthy Harold Hundred, and she wanted to encourage and support Rylann by registering the school to take part in the challenge as a team.
“Rylann was so happy to hear that the school was taking part and he takes pride in being a good role model.
“His main message to others throughout this challenge has been that ‘kindness is cool’ and there is so much power that comes from simply being kind and he is wanting to show that to everyone.”
*As published in Bundaberg Today on 14 May 2021.