Lincoln Charter School: A Beacon of Hope in York, Pennsylvania

By: Andrew Campanella

One charter school teacher was tired of online negativity. She and her students created a movement for optimism in their community – and it went viral.

Instead of despairing at the negativity in our society and online – something I, like many, find tempting at times – local heroes like Anne Clark of York, Pennsylvania did something to combat it.

Anne is the administrator at Lincoln Charter School in York, Pennsylvania, a school that has participated in National School Choice Week for the past four years.

Students at Lincoln Charter School celebrate National School Choice Week

Worried that online negativity was sending a message to her students that the future as hopeless, she decided to wage a campaign of optimism and positivity in her hometown. The first step was enlisting her school to help.

Anne worked with her students and teachers to send “positive messages to community leaders every Sunday” as a way of boosting their spirits. People who serve the public, she reasoned, are more likely to be constructive and forward-looking if they see that the people they serve have hope and optimism for the future.

Eventually, the project went viral in York, generating hundreds of positive stories about people helping their neighbors. She also focused on celebrating the heroic but underappreciated work of educators in York and their partnerships with students and parents.

She wrote one book with these stories and words of inspiration, “The Journey of Hope,” and is working on a second book now, “Messages of Hope from York!” But, for Anne, the project is not a commercial endeavor. She raised funds to print the books and will donate all proceeds from the books’ sales to regional charities, supporting many of the same groups whose great works she and her followers have celebrated.

Anne and the students at Lincoln Charter School want people to know that “even in hard times, people do good works.”

Anne and her students are right.

We need more people like Anne Clark and the students at Lincoln Charter School in our world.

Most importantly: we need more people who inspire others with messages of hope and happiness and encouragement, even when negativity abounds. And we all need to recognize that we can bring optimism back to our discourse if we work one community and a time.

Challenge: In recognition of Anne and the students at Lincoln Charter School, I challenge you to send one unanticipated, positive e-mail to someone who is making a difference in your community.

Read more from Anne Clark about how her school celebrates National School Choice Week.