Essential Appreciation

Student starts a new club that focuses on others

Sophia Dinubilo, Journalism Student Reporter

Essential Appreciation members create thank-you cards and posters for teachers, school nurses and cafeteria staff.

Kindness, the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate, is a term everyone is familiar with. But, for one junior, she challenged herself to create a different way to show kindness to people in a time of need.

Heather McCoun created the club Essential Appreciation after seeing how the COVID-19 pandemic affected essential workers and was inspired to show her admiration to these selfless people, all the way from teachers to firefighters.

“My inspiration to start essential appreciation was watching the essential workers around me struggle to keep themselves at 100% when the world around them was not. I wanted to share little acts of kindness to show them that their hard work is appreciated by the people they serve, ” Heather said.

Heather made the decision to create the club, but wasn’t sure where to start. She conversed with her peers that expressed interest in the club to get opinions, and with that information, she was finally able to create a game plan.

“I told my friends about my ideas, and had them tell their friends, until I had collected ten people who were ready to make a difference. After I collected my ideas, I was then faced with the challenge to find a College Park teacher that was willing to sponsor the club,” Heather said.

Heather finally decided to ask her sophomore Chemistry teacher, Mr. Howard, to sponsor Essential Appreciation. She presented her ideas to Mr. Howard, and he agreed. They then started the club creation process together.

“It seemed like Heather knew what she wanted to do, and that’s what I look for. She had a great idea, she put in the work to decide what she wanted to do in the club, and implemented her ideas effectively, so I was more than happy to sponsor and supervise the club,” Mr. Howard said.

Heather started hosting meetings after school every week, and the club started projects as soon as possible. Together as a club, essential appreciation has created thank-you cards for St. Luke’s ICU unit nurses, made posters for the cafeteria staff and nurses, as well as written individual thank you cards to personal teachers.

“Watching my teachers, doctors, restaurant workers, as well as many others work hard through a time that demanded the absolute most from them, created an urge in me to make them smile,” Heather said.

The club currently has male and female members from freshman to seniors. Along with their current projects, they have also brainstormed future projects and who they would like to serve next.

“My favorite part of our meetings is when we create ideas for future projects. One thing I really like about the club is that during the brainstorming process, all of our opinions are heard and considered, whether they are picked or not. Although I will say, sometimes it is pretty interesting hearing what members come up with, ” Junior Luis Alarcon said.

Essential Appreciation’s next project will be making goodie bags with baked goods for the Woodlands Fire Department firefighters. Every member will contribute something to the bags and write cards to show how thankful they are for the firefighters’ bravery and selflessness. The club’s mission of creating and giving symbols of appreciation in order to create a feeling of importance and love, while giving someone a reason to smile, will continue to extend through the years ahead.

“There are so many workers that went above and beyond during the COVID pandemic without any recognition, and I think EAP is really closing the gap of saying “Hey, you guys are great”. I think that is amazing,” Mr. Howard said.