Perry Township 5th grader wins kindness t-shirt design national contest

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – The movie Wonder is set for nationwide release this weekend.

The film is based on a novel of the same name written by Raquel J. Palacio about a boy with facial deformities who goes to a mainstream school for the first time and faces bullying.

Shaun Pennington's 5th grade class at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Perry Township read the book and saw the movie before anyone else, thanks to classmate Lydia Andrews. Lydia is one of eight winners nationwide of the Certified Kind t-shirt design contest.

"It blows my mind,” said Lydia Thursday at school, wearing one of the shirts she designed.

Lydia’s design shows stick figures holding hands around a globe with the words “Kindness is everything, it’s a chain reaction.”

“I designed it because there are people around the world that are getting bullied,” said Lydia, wearing one of the t-shirts she designed. “The people that are holding hands are the people that are being kind to each other. That’s like the chain, and a chain goes on forever and ever.”

The t-shirt is being sold at Gap Kids for $16.95. Proceeds benefit myFace and Children’s Craniofacial Association, two non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting children with craniofacial conditions.

"I learned that when I see someone being rude to someone I should stand up for them and tell them that kindness is a chain reaction,” said Lydia. "I show people kindness when they have no one to play with I go over and play with them and talk to them. I just hang out with them."

Mr. Pennington’s class not only read the book, but each student submitted and t-shirt design and completed other activities to become a “Certified Kind” classroom.

“I felt that the message that I’m trying to send to the kids and how I want them to care for one another and care for other people, I was able to see that through their designs,” said Pennington. “I was really proud of that."

Lydia won a $150 gift card from the Gap and other prizes. Her class was treated to a special screening of Wonder, a story with a universal message reinforced by the 5th grader's t-shirt.

“Diversity doesn't really mean different. It's means unique," said Lydia. "It's not really about the t-shirt.”

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