By Jason KUROSU
Rosemont Middle School was recently awarded a $500 cash prize thanks to the efforts of a local eighth grader and aspiring filmmaker looking to spread the message of kindness to his fellow students.
Daniel Tweedy was honored for his short film, “Kindness: You Are All That I Needed,” the winning entry in the Great Kindness Challenge, an anti-bullying initiative created by nonprofit Kids for Peace, in partnership with Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center.
Daniel’s film takes viewers through the Rosemont campus during a typical school day, complete with kids rushing to class, slamming locker doors and the unfortunate, but all too prevalent, sight of bullying.
In one continuous shot, Daniel’s film shows an instance of bullying that is quickly overshadowed by a chain reaction of kind acts. Daniel, who netted editor, director, producer and star credits in the film, is initially pushed to the ground by a bully. He is then helped up by a bystander and the chain continues from there, coming full circle at the conclusion with Daniel helping the bullies who mistreated him earlier.
Daniel said a church sermon inspired the idea for a “chain of kindness,” as well as the idea of helping even those who mistreat you, those you might see at school, “but you don’t know what they’re going through.”
Rosemont was one of four GUSD schools to be awarded through the Great Kindness Challenge. Ten students, including six from Rosemont, submitted videos, which were judged by a panel of representatives from Glendale Memorial Hospital.
All other participating schools, which include Toll, Roosevelt and Wilson middle schools, won $100 each.
For the past three years, Dignity Health and Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center have participated in the Great Kindness Challenge, which primarily took place during the week of Jan. 25-Jan. 29. However, in 2016, the video contest was implemented for the first time, said Cassie McCarty, who headed the judges’ panel and is Dignity Health’s director of Mission Integration.
Dignity Health put forward the theme of “What Does Kindness Mean to You?” and was “inspired and impressed” with the results, McCarty said.
Dignity Health spokeswoman Sonia Solin said the videos were “really reflective of our mission.” Videos were judged on their mastery of the theme, their originality, the film’s plot and its technological merit.
“It was a pretty high bar we set,” McCarty said.
Ultimately, Daniel’s video won out and Rosemont was presented with a check at a Feb. 12 schoolwide assembly. Dignity Health Glendale Memorial President Jack Ivie presented the check to Daniel and Rosemont principal Cynthia Livingston.
McCarty said Daniel’s video delivered “ a really powerful message” and that the panel was impressed by the concept of what happens “when one initiates kindness.”
Though Daniel does his fair share of filmmaking in his free time, he was quick to share the praise, saying he owed much of the film’s creation to his father and sister, who helped film and edit the short.
“I couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.
He also thanked around 25 students from Rosemont’s advanced drama class who appeared in the film, taking time out of their sixth period to be a part of the experience.
The film is available for viewing on Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center’s Facebook page.