Dude, be nice.

That’s the name and message of this week’s Central Middle School events.

“The week is about much more than just anti-bullying,” Denise Aguilar, Central Middle School Spanish teacher, said. “It is an initiative for students to create a positive environment and good vibes.”

Aguilar said the week of positive vibes has “absolutely” made a difference.

On Tuesday, for Encouraging Messages Day, students wrote their gratitude and other positive messages on billboards in the cafeteria. The billboards focused on parts of the community and included the military, firefighters, police and the City of Lawton.

“The students are going to deliver these messages to these groups,” Aguilar said. “It makes the students realize that the school is successful because of inside the school and outside the school, in the community.”

Seventh-grader Caleb Honold wrote, “Thank you for your service and everything you guys do for our country” on the military billboard.

“My uncle’s being deployed,” Honold said. “It’s a personal message.”

On the lockers, more than 1,000 inspirational messages were posted with sticky notes to say, “You matter,” Aguilar said.

This week also includes displays of appreciation for teachers, secretaries and other employees of the school. For example, the students gave the crossing guard an umbrella and a gift card to Sonic.

Monday was Compliment Day and the rest of “Dude, be nice” week continues with Gratitude Day, Appreciation Day and Recognition Day.

“On Friday is our big reveal day. We’re going to have an assembly and the kids, the Student Council, have chosen a person or a group of people to honor for their support at CMS (Central Middle School),” Aguilar said.

“I was very impressed with the program initiative (“Dude, be nice” week) after learning about this at the state convention in 2016 and wanted to bring it back if we could in some form for our school.

“But this program was actually due in part to the persistence of a former student I had in student council for two years, Mercedes Terry,” Aguilar said. “She (Mercedes) really believed in the program and kept asking me if we could do something with it, even if it was on a smaller scale, to get it going. We both fell in love with the program and with her enthusiasm and persistence, this program was given life in Lawton.

“It truly would not be a program if one of my former students did not have a passion about it like I did,” she said.

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