A Slip of Paper Can Make a World of a Difference

March 23, 2017

Andrew Brooks, 16, was born and raised in the Chicago area and currently resides in Highland Park, Illinois. He is a student at Highland Park High School and is a leader in his community and an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Andrew is also a professional actor, having appeared in a recent episode of Chicago Med on NBC. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, seeing Broadway shows, and traveling to new and interesting places.

I wake up in the morning with a migraine headache that eventually made me late for my first period class at Highland Park High School. It’s the day after the election and I’m already a mess, my emotions are flaming and on top of that. I’m exhausted and sick. So my day was already shaping up to be horrible when I parked my car and started running into school like a chicken with its head cut off.

I was running up the front steps when I got handed a slip of paper without a word from the person giving it to me. I shrugged it off and walked into my class, just on time. I sat at my desk and looked down at the slip of paper and saw:

I immediately smiled and realized what those people were doing: handing out affirmations to perk up people’s moods. It immediately filled me with joy and made my day so much better, even though it had barely started yet. I had been in the worst mood, and that little slip of paper made me feel so amazing, loved, wanted and united with my peers.

That whole day, all I heard was everyone was talking about what affirmation they got, how amazing it made them feel and who did it. It was done by a club in the school called HP United whose mission is to unite all people and make everyone feel equal and heard. It made me and my entire school feel so loved and wanted at a time when everyone felt separated and forgotten.

“I was tired and I had a math test that day, also the whole mood of the school was just bad and it was just shaping out to be a bad day,” said sophomore Arden Yazici. “I was super inspired after I read my piece of paper, it brought my mood up so much and made me feel so much better. I really enjoyed talking to my friends about what they got and how they felt about it.”

Arden’s slip of paper said “You are welcome here.”

“I was feeling really sad and distraught when I walked in to school that morning,” said senior Meagan Norton whose slip of paper said: “You are beautiful.” “I walked in to school and was given this slip of paper and it gave me hope. It gave me hope that our generation is going to stand together and love each other for who we are. That what’s in store for the future is good, bright and loving.”