CHESTER – Anne Cabell Dougherty wanted to promote kindness and respect at C.C. Wells Elementary School, so she and others implemented Kindness Week at... Kindness Week promoted at Wells Elementary School
ABOVE LEFT: School counselor Anne Cabell Dougherty stands with students in front of a ‘Kindness Tree.’ Bottom, from left, Andre Ascencio, Gabriel West and Savannah Gaskins; back, Claire White, Ahomeah Perry, Jayvone Richardson, Jassir Tucker and Frantasia Soler.

CHESTER – Anne Cabell Dougherty wanted to promote kindness and respect at C.C. Wells Elementary School, so she and others implemented Kindness Week at the school.

“I believe it’s important for kids to promote kindness in the school building and for it to trickle into the community,” the first-year school counselor said. “It’s promoting school-wide respect. I want to spread kindness to students and staff.”

As part of the week-long effort that coincided with Valentine’s Day, students wrote encouraging letters to community members, including school bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria staff, administrators, firefighters, police officers and nursing home residents.

Students also performed random acts of kindness throughout the week, and for doing so, they accumulated heart blooms that were added to the school’s “Kindness Tree,” located in a school hallway.

Students donated $1 each to the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Virginia chapter, and dressed up each day for “Spirit Week” at the school. A total of $451 was raised.

Although it was her idea, Kindness Week wouldn’t have happened without support from the school’s administration and staff, said Dougherty, a 2011 Thomas Dale High School graduate who attended C.C. Wells from 1998 to 2005.

This is Dougherty’s first year working in education after earning a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and master’s degree from Longwood University, and she loves it.

Her mother, Robin Dougherty, was a teacher in Chesterfield for 32 years, including 18 years at Wells, and her two sisters also work in the education field. Jordan Chapin is dean of students at Midlothian Middle School, and Tyler Rivenbark is a speech-language pathologist in Portsmouth.

“It was amazing to come back and step in the school again,” Dougherty said, noting that she volunteered with kindergarteners at Wells as a teacher cadet when she was a senior at TDHS.