Jesse Lewis Choose Love Program makes its way to WHS advisories

Jesse Lewis Choose Love Program makes its way to WHS advisories

Waipahu High School will be implementing a new program, “Choose Love,” during Thursday advisory periods starting this semester.

The Choose Love Program was created by Scarlett Lewis, a mother whose six-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, along with 19 other students and six educators. She started this program with the hope of stopping future mass shootings.

Lewis says on the Choose Love website, “Although we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can always choose how to respond. Children can learn to choose a loving thought over an angry one. When a child realizes that they have the power to positively impact themselves as well as those around them, it is empowering and perpetuates their positive actions and interactions.”

WHS counselor Tamra Nakai says, “The Choose Love Program is a social and emotional learning (SEL) program for all high school students.”

According to a recent study, SEL has been proven to increase grades, attendance, and focus, while also reducing aggression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other issues.

Nakai explained what students can expect from Choose Love activities throughout the year.

“A lot of the activities will start with a mindful meditation minute to get the students focused on the activity that they will be doing in class. Then there will be journaling,” Nakai said.

Students will keep a journal in their homeroom classes that will remain confidential and be locked away by their homeroom teachers.

Choose Love activities will relate to courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion in action.

The Choose Love Program is an ongoing program that will run for 4 years.

All Waipahu public schools, from pre-kindergarten to high school, will be implementing the Choose Love Program. Counselors hope that it will allow students to better cope with stress and positively impact each other.