BOXFORD (CBS) – At the Masconomet Middle School in Boxford, teaching kindness is just as important as math and English.
“If they can walk out of here at the end of the year being better people, then I have done my job,” said seventh-grade teacher Peter Wilson.
To develop character and compassion, he began showing students Steve Hartman’s stories, which air on CBS News.
Wilson said one Monday he didn’t have time to show a video, and the students yelled at him, telling him the videos mattered.
So, on Nov. 5, Wilson wrote an email to Hartman to say thank you. Not only did get a response, he got a visit.
“When I hear these guys watch the stories religiously and treasure them, I had to come,” Hartman said.
“I lost it,” Wilson said. “I didn’t expect it.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 27, Hartman dropped in and discussed some of his stories in the auditorium. He then met with a smaller group of students in the library.
Kaitlyn Mancini, a student at Masconomet, said after watching Hartman, she was inspired to volunteer. She now teaches a 3-year-old girl with Down syndrome how to dance.
“I feel like Steve – he’s bringing the light onto the kids, and they’re able to do things and make a difference instead of just the adults, and it’s very inspiring to me and I’d like to be one of those kids,” Mancini said.
“I get accused a lot of trying to make people cry with my stories, and I’m really not, but they almost made me cry today because this is why we do what we do,” Hartman said.
It turns out, thousands of teachers across the country are using Hartman’s stories for character education. That’s an impact he never imagined and one he considers the most important.
“I’d like to see these stories in every classroom in America,” Hartman said. “I think that if kids come out of school with good, strong character that everything else with fall into place.”
“On the Road with Steve Hartman” airs Fridays on CBS Evening News and on CBS Sunday Morning.