I Love the World- Hunter Middle School
Posted on 02/17/2024
I Love the World- Hunter Middle SchoolChattanooga, TN - Hunter Middle School classes, led by teachers Mr. Smith and Mr. Mayo, embarked on a heartwarming project titled "I Love the World." The initiative aimed to teach students about the world's geography while spreading love, unity, and kindness from communities across the states. The project quickly gained momentum after a Facebook post by the teachers requesting valentines from around the country.

The heartwarming project exceeded all expectations as over 800 valentines poured in from various corners of the globe (6 continents and 26 countries), including surprises of valentines from Japan. This outpouring of love not only touched the hearts of the students but also showcased the power of love and compassion in fostering a sense of community. Smith, a teacher of the month finalist, stated he was overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers in showing his students the world and community cares and said, “This may be the most gratifying thing I’ve done in education.”

What started as a simple idea to show students that there is love in the world blossomed into a global exchange of goodwill and educational enrichment. Local businesses rallied behind the cause, donating items for a celebratory party and the classroom- including a toy chest. The class received so many donations students have taken home three bags of toys, stuffed animals, cards, and more from around the globe.

The project provided students with a visual representation of different states and instilled in them a sense of community and care from people around the world. As packages from around the world piled in, students learned geographic regions and historical stories from cities all over the United States and the world. The project's success highlights the power of love, kindness, and community involvement in shaping the students’ educational journey at Hunter Middle School.

Smith and Mayo's innovative approach to education exemplifies the core values of Hamilton County Schools, where every student is not just educated but truly valued and cherished. Their dedication to creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment is seen through their actions. Smith has inspired many of his colleagues and is Mayo’s son’s inspiration for pursuing a career as an exceptional education teacher.

Many staff members at the school have pulled together to make this project a success, even giving up their related arts periods to drop by the classroom to help sort mail and hang valentines. Smith stated that he encourages other educators to get the community involved in similar projects but joked they should “Be prepared to stay late. There will be support, and it is overwhelming.”

Smith and Mayo were extremely grateful for the support of their students, from across the country but also locally. Their passion for education and commitment to creating a brighter future for all students embody the spirit of Opportunity 2030, where all children thrive and experience a future without limits.

View all the locations of Valentines here.