- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

PROVO, Utah (AP) - Lone Peak High School in Highland recently launched a program to motivate and unify its student body. Using the hashtag, #lonepeakoneword, LPHS students, staff and faculty posted their one word to Instagram for the last two weeks in January.

The theme at LPHS this year is “Become One,” and the idea for the recent launch of the Lone Peak One Word program came from Camie Smith, president of the Lone Peak Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA). To support the school’s theme, Smith browsed the internet. She found the idea of using just one word as a goal and knew it would fit well with the LPHS theme.

The PTSA launched the program at lunch Jan. 15, and instantly got a bunch of students on board. With words ranging from “courage” to “fearless” and “fun,” from “chill” to “lift” and “reach,” many students posted their words within the first few days. One word, “schpadoinkle” trended early on, spurred by computer teacher Jonathan Holt. The word was coined in a movie, “Cannibal! The Musical,” and is an all-purpose word loosely describing something wonderful and great.

“We asked them to choose a word that inspires them or motivates them, so when they see that word, it gives them meaning. The majority of (the words) are fairly unique, but the trend seems to be finding happiness or peace. So a lot of the words are based around that,” said Tim Pead, LPHS assistant principal. “It’s really helped humanize the faculty and staff for the students as well.”

Pead chose as his word, “love.” In his Instagram post, he explained, “That’s all you really need. Love your life, love others and most importantly love who you are.”

In their own Instagram posts, many students have included a small description explaining why they chose their word. But one student, Amy Miller, took it a bit further, and wrote a large paragraph describing her reasons for choosing “story.”

“I picked ‘story’ as my word because every single person you come across has a story you could never begin to understand. Every person you meet has a collection of experiences in their past that make them who they are, and each have endless possibilities hanging over their heads that change who they will be .. And all those stories, all those people are connected in a beautiful web that becomes a giant, human story,” Miller wrote in her Instagram post. “I choose to become involved in people’s stories, I choose to listen and weave myself in as a character in every single plot that needs me.”

For Pead, Smith and the staff working on the Lone Peak One Word program, this is why they will continue this project - to see the students embracing their word and weaving it into the fabric of their personality makes it worth the efforts.

“It’s so interesting, once you pick your word, you think about it often. And it’s interesting how much more you notice words more. It’s an interesting process, when you get a word, how it becomes a part of your life,” Smith said.

Smith spent time this week with the LPHS swim team, shooting underwater pics of their words. Almost all of the teachers have picked their word, and Smith is working to get their pictures taken. She plans to capture most of the teachers at their Parent Teacher Conference luncheon Feb. 10, and post to them LonePeakOneWord Instagram account. The PTSA will also take pics of any parents who want to post their one word that night as well.

“It’s slowly catching on. Some local groups in the community and in churches are getting involved,” Smith said.

Throughout the rest of the school year, Smith said, the PTSA will hold small contests and lunchtime activities to get more of the student body involved. Eventually, the PTSA would like to make a word wall that can be on permanent display in the school’s library. Smith said they even are thinking of holding a contest over spring break, challenging the students to post a picture of themselves on vacation with their one word. Winners will receive one of the PTSA’s “coveted” One Word shirts that tout the program.

For now, the hope is that with just one word, students at LPHS can develop happiness and a hope for their future.


Information from: The Daily Herald, https://www.heraldextra.com

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