By Lisa Hughes

MEDFORD (CBS) – Three Medford High School students got the surprise of their lives Tuesday all because of a unique project they created. They won a “KIND Schools” award, aimed at creating more caring communities. The project takes a basic need and fills it, helping many of their fellow students.

As the junior class filled the Medford High auditorium, they didn’t know exactly what the assembly was about. And little did three students sitting together realize, it was all about them.

The KIND Foundation came to Medford to honor the three girls for winning the KIND Schools Challenge. “I am thrilled to name Medford High School as the winner,” said Dana Rosenberg the director of the Foundation.

Amidst thunderous applause, Luiza Barbosa, Rubia Fernandes and Jenna Agnone rose and walked to the podium, shocked and delighted. More so when they realized they would each receive a $1,000 prize. “I’m honestly so honored,” Luiza says. “I was like, oh my God, this is so crazy,” adds Jenna.

The trio created a campaign called the ELL Give Back Program. ELL stands for English Language Learner. They made a series of videos in six different languages, helping non-English speakers navigate the school, like how to open a locker, what’s available at the guidance office, and how to buy an MBTA bus pass.

“What made it the winner was that these three students went above and beyond, to really get to know their community, to find out what their challenges were and to create a solution,” says Dana Rosenberg from the Kind Foundation.

There are more than 100 ELL students at Medford High speaking Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese and Portuguese.

“With the video, they help the students know where they have to go and who they can go to for help,” says Edson Lima, an ELL student.

“It helped me a lot with my English and also it’s helped me know more about how high school works,” adds Tien Ngo, another ELL student.

“It’s kind of simple things when you think about it. And I’ve heard people poke fun, it’s like ‘oh they don’t’ know how to do this?’ I’m like, they don’t know how to do this because no one ever told them in a way they can understand,” says Rubia Fernandes, one of the winners.

“It’s so amazing to get to represent my school through the Kind program,” adds Luiza Barbosa. “It’s really cool to be recognized for all the hard work we put into it,” says Jenna Agnone.

This is the second year the KIND Foundation, along with Harvard’s Making Caring Common have given this award. Two-hundred schools from cross the country submitted projects.


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