I live by a simple yet meaningful phrase “Know the story, know the person.” I know that behind your face is a story, a story worth sharing. The whole point behind the “Smile Cards”, as I dubbed them, is that when you hand them out to people, the most common response is simply a smile. As I began my high school career, I wasn’t involved in much other than a technology academy and a few clubs. However, at the end of Freshman year something incredible happened, I was chosen to be a part of our leadership class which has forever changed me for the better. During my first year in leadership I became friends with Austin McCullah who became a role model and my best friend. Austin introduced me to the simple hashtag #SmileMore that Roman Atwood made famous. I was inspired. With the help of my amazing friend and digital designer Hailey Angeles, smile cards were born. From there I looked at these slips as a day altering message. Some cards were funnier, some were serious, and some were just right. This led to my all time favorite card, “I Love your smile.” When you pass them out they give you a little glimmer of their smile which is beyond heartwarming. Standing outside the student entrance in the morning I can easily spot the kids having subpar days in a flash. Those are the kids I aim to make the most impact on with Smile Cards. One day when I was passing out Smile Cards and I noticed a girl that was near tears. I made a direct line towards her and once the exchange of eye contact and the slip of paper everything seemed to change. Her posture, attitude and face all changed in that instant. These slips, although small in size, have a large impact on the school atmosphere when they’re given out. It’s awe-inspiring how a simple piece of paper can become something much more powerful with a little ink and some love in your heart.

I believe every project has a team behind it and for me this team has given me plenty of love and support to keep me going. These people include; my family, my friends, Michelle Chiotti, Austin McCullah, Hailey Angeles, CHHS teachers and Administration, and of course #ICANHELP for making my dreams of this project becoming bigger than just CHHS come true.

This post was written by Adam Cullen.