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Beyond the Books: Waterloo students participate in acts of kindness

Members of the Lou Henry Little Hawk family share an embrace before the Kindness Day assembly.

An acronym the Little Hawks of Lou Henry Elementary live by is being put into action as 500 students give back to the community.

SOAR -- Safe, On task, Act responsibly, Respectful -- was on display as the students completed 630 acts of kindness in an hour.

Little Hawk student Amariyan Morris unexpectedly passed away in January, and now his classmates are honoring his legacy on his birthday through their commitment to community.

Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka attended the festivities, his department receiving handmade cards thanking officers for their service.

"It's little things like this that have a tremendous impact on the community," said Trelka, who was all smiles during the event. "I was impressed this morning when I walked in the door. A second grader walked up to me and said, 'Welcome to Lou Henry.' That act of coming up to an adult and shaking his hand, that says a lot about the culture of this school."

Morris was the ultimate embodiment of that culture, a constant source of joy for his Lou Henry peers.

Teacher Amy McGovern said she's cried numerous times since Morris's death, including several times during Kindness Day.

"Today is about celebrating his birthday," said McGovern, "celebrating the life he didn't get to lead. And hopefully filling those buckets that filled ours that day."

The Little Hawk community said Morris would be proud of their efforts.

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