WEST ORANGE, NJ - The annual Gregory Elementary School “Great Kindness Challenge” warmed hearts throughout West Orange, sharing smiles, hugs and words of inspiration and support during the week of Jan. 22.

Organized by Guidance Counselor Sarah McIntosh, members of three branches of the military, Mayor Robert Parisi, Superintendent of Schools Jeff Rutzky, board of education member Ken Alper and members of the West Orange Police and Fire Departments lined the entrance to Gregory to welcome students each morning, holding signs and giving hugs and smiles.

Students were eager to see who would be welcoming them each day.

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“They do good things to support the kids,” said first-grade student Liam W.

“It means a lot to me that they spent their time at Gregory School,” fifth-grade student Letesha W.
 “They send the good message that kindness matters.”

Gregory teachers and staff cheered as students made their way to their classrooms.

“It means so much to Gregory School to have the community embrace our initiative of creating more kindness,” said McIntosh. “Our special greeters are local heroes and celebrities in the eyes of our students.”

See all the photos from the Gregory Kindness Challenge here.