LEWISTON – The task was simple: Write down a whole bunch of positive messages on sticky notes and then slap them onto every single locker at Lewiston High School.

Lewiston Youth Advisory Council members Carolyn Adams, foreground, and Emma Williams stick notes to lockers in one of the hallways at Lewiston High School on Thursday night. Students, parents, faculty and community members gathered in the school library to write positive messages with a goal to have one on every locker in the school. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

How to go about it was a different matter.

Allison Beane, for instance, consulted an online list of motivational messages so she could jot dozens of notes in a matter of minutes.

Sophomore Damon Dewitt, on the other hand, had to think about each message before jotting it down.

“I’m making them up as I go along,” Dewitt said.

It was all good. Freestyle or using cheat sheets, the plan was to plaster the high school with sticky notes so students arriving in the morning would start their day on positive notes – literally.


“We want everyone to feel like they’re in a good environment,” senior Christine Chasse said.

It was Chasse who conceived of the project after hearing a few too many stories about bullying, depression and young people committing suicide.

“It’s awful, especially when it’s the young kids,” Chasse said. “It’s just so sad.”

With that in mind, the “Lock in your Kindness” campaign was born, an effort that would see the walls and lockers of the school festooned with uplifting notes come Friday morning.

Chasse and Dewitt, both members of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council, were joined by several classmates, school officials and a few parents Thursday night in the high school library.

Chasse’s parents were among them, in fact. Like everyone else in the library, Dan and Celeste Chasse sat at tables, jotting down one message after another on sticky notes in a variety of colors. Around the room, pens were in constant motion and the notes started to pile up.


“You can do it if you think you can,” wrote Dewitt. He thought for a second or two, tapping the pen against his chin, and then wrote “Believe in your potential!”

Some wrote in block letters. Others scribbled in neat cursive and punctuated their notes with hearts and smiley faces.

“Shine on!” Beane wrote, in thick, ornate letters. On another sticky note she wrote “You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing.”

After hundreds of notes were compiled, the group went through the school, tagging every locker. Chasse said she even planned to post some of the messages on bathroom mirrors and random walls. Anybody who showed up for school Friday, as the plan went, would not be able to avoid the onslaught of positive thoughts.

One note waits to be gathered and stuck on a locker at Lewiston High School on Thursday night. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

Mayor Kristin Cloutier was among the note-writers Thursday night.

Some people, including customers at Fran’s Restaraunt, couldn’t be at the school so they wrote their notes earlier in the day and sent them over.


“You matter in every single way — every day,” declared one of those notes.

“We are lucky to have you in our city and school,” according to another.

The “Lock in Your Kindness” effort is part Shine on Lewiston, a campaign that sets out to spread positive news about the city.

According to senior Emma Williams, the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council is also collecting testimonials from people who have been bullied; stories that may be used for a film project called “Bullyproof Lewiston.” Williams and other council members also plan to go to local schools to talk to younger students about the impacts of bullying.

It was not immediately clear how many notes were written Thursday night. Organizers of the effort initially said they hoped to gather up roughly 2,000 before the night was through.

Asked now many notes she hoped to see created, Chasse was a little more ambiguous.

“A lot,” she said.

Bullyproof Lewiston

The Lewiston Youth Advisory Council is seeking individual stories about bullying for a video it is producing about the impact bullying has on the lives of its victims. To share your story, visit lewistonmaine.gov/bullyproof

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