Raktivist Club spreads kindness through unexpected compliments

 By Vanessa Gibson, Staff Writer

 Junior Cassie Pontius places a third party compliment into the big blue box.
 Junior Cassie Pontius places a third party compliment into the big blue box.

    The Raktivist Club has been a growing group at Carroll High School (CHS) since it began in October of 2014. This is the second consecutive year that the club has organized the Big Blue Box campaign, which aims to spread positivity and kindness through unexpected compliments.

   English teacher Carrie Wisehart, who is a member of the international Raktivist organization, started the club at Carroll High School. Her ultimate goal in beginning the club was to make CHS a much kinder place.

   Currently, the club is made up of about 400 students who are committed to the club’s values and signed a code of conduct to become a member. Participants of the club are referred to as “Raktivists”, which as Wisehart explains are activists that partake in random acts of kindness. However, being a Raktivist is much more than just signing a paper and attending meetings.

   “We [Raktivists] stand by the adage that we stand up for those who don’t stand up for themselves,” Wisehart said. “We commit to no gossip and we commit to being a part of the campaigns that we do.”

   The Raktivist Club does a different campaign every month. They do one on social media and another one for the people at CHS.

   Their current operation is the Big Blue Box campaign. Wisehart came up with the idea last year with the simple mission of filling a large box with third party compliments.

   Wisehart defines a third party compliment as “positive gossip.” Thus, instead of speaking negatively about people behind their back, students spread positivity.

   The club has promoted the Big Blue Box campaign and third party compliments through social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter. They have also made announcements over the school’s intercom and placed posters around the school that read “Have you seen the big blue box?”

   The club has 25 student leaders that have helped to make this campaign, and all campaigns happen. In regards to the Big Blue Box, leaders have gone through and organized the third party compliments and then put them into the display cases by the CHS cafeteria.

   One of these leaders is two year club member and high school senior Amber Peterson. Peterson feels very strongly about the box’s mission to spread love through unexpected compliments.

   “Personally, I think an unexpected compliment can change someone,” Peterson said. “Not just change their day, but actually change someone. It can cause them to have an entirely different outlook on life and on others, and it can cause them to want to pass that kindness forward.”

   Peterson also believes that the anonymity of the compliments is genuine, because it makes people feel like they really are seen and cared for.

   When the leaders went through and counted the amount of third party compliments that were in the Big Blue Box, they saw that there were almost double of what was in the box last year. Wisehart hopes that the growing numbers mean that the box campaign could turn into a Carroll tradition.

   Despite this, Wisehart states that she is not as concerned with the mass numbers as she is about the hearts.

   “I don’t care if it is 1,000 kids or just one kid,” Wisehart said, “if we have made one kid feel that they belong and save their life then it is worth it.”

 Photo of the Big Blue Box