April 2, 2020
Cypress Falls High School Assistant Principal Ashley Hardin, left, and science teacher Lindsay Rubenstein smile for a photo on “Commitment Day,” when the campus came together in January to celebrate and encourage keeping promises. The theme was “Because I Said I Would,” which comes from a nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises kept.
By Hunter King, Cypress Falls High School
April 2, 2020—In following the success from its first year, Cypress Falls High School students and staff came together for their second annual “Commitment Day” in January, pledging promises to themselves and others and learning of the benefits from following through and accountability.
The Golden Eagles celebrated through a “Because I Said I Would” campaign on Jan. 13. The event was a culmination of an idea by Cypress Falls Principal Becky Denton, who wanted students and staff to commit to promises that would positively impact the campus culture.
This year’s theme comes from Alex Sheen, a speaker and the founder of the Because I Said I Would nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept.
“Every year, we pick a theme or an idea to overlay the entire year of things we want to work on,” Denton said. “This year we heard a story by a gentleman named Alex Sheen…and it’s based on the eulogy he gave at his father’s funeral. He said his dad didn’t do anything great like cure cancer or save somebody's life, but he was just a man of his word and he kept his promises. He started a Facebook campaign and said he didn’t really expect anything to come out of it, but he challenged people that if you wanted to make a promise, he’d send you a promise card.”
Through March, Because I Said I Would has distributed nearly 13 million promise cards to 153 countries. Denton saw this as an opportunity to integrate it into Cypress Falls’ theme, including the students getting commitment cards and writing down one commitment they want to accomplish.
“It doesn’t have to be anything big, I mean it can be, but it also can be something as simple as you are going to pick up three pieces of trash or going to turn in your homework or saying that you’re no longer going to be tardy to fifth period,” Denton said. “It can be something simple and we want people to put more attention on the things that they said they would do.”
In addition to photos, Cypress Falls High School students were tasked with writing their promises on commitment cards, which were displayed at the front of the school.
Students and staff were encouraged to take photos and post on social media in addition to writing down their commitments. A photo frame to commemorate Commitment Day, while some staff members wore Because I Said I Would shirts.
The campaign itself is a continuation from other soft skills that have been emphasized around the campus. One small push was having students learn their classmates’ names. Another focused on greetings and salutations in the hallways.
“We just want to make it a part of everyday students’ lives because it is important,” Denton said. “I don’t know if it will be a part of our overlying theme…but it is definitely something we will try to continue and it’ll be one of the soft skills that we will continue to filter in.”