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Spreading sunshine: The Sunshine Committee returns to HHE

BY THE PANTHER POST STAFF

As HHE staff members were busy working with students, a cart filled with treats, snacks, and drinks entered the room. This cart, known as the Sunshine Cart, came from the HHE Sunshine Committee.  

The Sunshine Committee is a group of teachers dedicated to brightening their coworkers day. It was started by first grade teachers, Mrs. Hanley and Mrs. Stettner. 

“The Sunshine Committee is a committee of teachers that really wanted to bring an uplifting spirit to our teachers, especially in a year like this with such unprecedented times,” Mrs. Stettner said. “We really wanted to boost the morale amongst our staff.” 

“I thought this would be a great way to bring everyone together through some uplifting activities that we could work on as a team. So that’s why we decided to start it, to bring a little extra joy and light, and meet new teachers and collaborate together.” 

Mrs. Hanley, first grade teacher

This year, the Sunshine Committee hosted two events. The first event was the “Sunshine Cart,” which took place in January. This cart went around the school and stopped in classrooms to give treats to the teachers. The second event was the “Sweet Treats and Sunshine” Valentine’s Day event. The Sunshine Committee left goodie bags filled with treats in staff mailboxes and put out chocolates, pastries, and coffee.  

The purpose of the Sunshine Committee is to bring joy to the staff. When the staff is happy, so are the students, because happy teachers make happy students. 

“This is my first-year teaching at HHE and I really, really wanted to get to know lots of the teachers, faculty, and staff,” Mrs. Hanley said. “I thought this would be a great way to bring everyone together through some uplifting activities that we could work on as a team. So that’s why we decided to start it, to bring a little extra joy and light, and meet new teachers and collaborate together.” 

“The Sunshine Committee has provided HHE with a much needed, bright light. It is so important for all of us to prioritize and focus on our mental health. I am so appreciative of all that they do.” 

Mrs. Steinman, guidance counselor

HHE staff members are very excited to have the Sunshine Committee at their school. It was established many years ago, but just returned to campus this year. 

“The Sunshine Committee just started at HHE and has brought so much positivity at such a needed time,” Guidance Counselor Mrs. Steinman said. “The Sunshine Committee has provided HHE with a much needed, bright light. It is so important for all of us to prioritize and focus on our mental health. I am so appreciative of all that they do.” 

The Sunshine Committee plans to continue spreading brightness and love on the HHE campus for years to come. 

“I absolutely do hope to continue the Sunshine Committee in the future, and especially since hopefully in the future we’ll all be back together as a complete community,” Mrs. Hanley said. “It would be nice to spread that sunshine with everyone in our school.”

Meet the teachers behind the Sunshine Committee

Mrs. Hanley

Why did you become a teacher? 

“I come from a long line of educators myself. My mother was a teacher, my grandfather was a principal of a special needs school, my uncle was also a teacher as well, so I feel like it was in my blood. I always loved being in the classroom with my mother and watching how she engaged and taught her students and I wanted to make a similar difference myself. I love fostering that love of learning, so that’s why I went into teaching.”   

What is the best part about teaching? 

“I would say the best part about teaching is the students and seeing those lightbulb moments. I love watching the love of learning take place and engaging students in hands-on learning.” 

Fun Fact 

“[Mrs. Stettner and I] went to high school together and we are both expecting our first baby.”

Mrs.  Stettner

Why did you become a teacher? 

“When I think back to my career prior, I worked at a gym. I wanted to go into the schools to be able to make a bigger difference because I felt like my life could be more fulfilling working with children, rather than trying to sell a gym membership. It was a career change for me, but it’s one that I never look back on. I love my students, former and present, as my own.”  

What is the best part about teaching? 

“The best part about teaching is hands down the students. They are the sunshine even to the days that are not so good, whether it’s just doing a Go Noodle or playing at recess with them or finally overcoming a challenging word or those lightbulb moments, it’s 100% the students.”

Fun Fact 

“One fun fact about me is [that] right now I am pregnant with my first child and it’s a girl.” 

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