F-M students spread kindness one cup at a time

If you grab a coffee at Starbucks in DeWitt or Fayetteville, take a moment to look at the sleeve around your coffee cup: It may have a message from a Fayetteville-Manlius School District fourth grader.  

To spread kindness throughout the community, Enders Road Elementary School fourth-grade students decorated with positive and uplifting messages 2,760 coffee sleeves that Starbucks will be handing out to its customers. 

All six Enders Road fourth-grade classes, about 140 students total, decorated and colored the coffee sleeves.  

Fourth-grade teacher Amanda Ferris is for the third year having her students work on monthly random acts of kindness projects. Sometimes the acts are simple thank you cards to someone of the students’ choosing, and other times they are bigger projects, like a banner her class made last year for a substitute teacher. 

This year, Ferris wants to show her students that their small act of kindness can ripple beyond their school community. The idea of decorating coffee sleeves for November’s monthly project popped into her head as she sipped a cup of Starbucks coffee.

To be able to decorate one case for each Starbucks location, she brought in the other fourth-grade classes, making the project a grade-level undertaking. 

Students used markers to give the sleeves a splash of color and hand-wrote messages, picking from a list of about 35 phrases projected on a smartboard, such as “Be unstoppable,” “You are awesome” and “Find the joy in today.”

Fourth-grade student Alayna Krukin said she wrote messages that made her happy when she saw them. 

“We’re just trying to help people get through their day,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to make people happy.”

Rohan Dumpala, also a fourth-grade student, said he felt really good about participating in the project. 

“We’re making other people’s days better,” he said. 

This project is one of many taking place across the district as staff and schools embrace the district’s mission statement, which includes creating supportive community partnerships and developing social-emotional learning opportunities for students.