Shirley Hills Primary School second-grader Kaia Kallestad received a statewide honor this week from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center for helping to make the world a kinder place. She was presented with the Faces of Change Award at the 2019 Unity Awards banquet, which was held May 22 in Bloomington.
The Unity Awards ceremony, first held in 2015, is an evening of celebration to gather and recognize those who are helping to create a world without bullying, whether it’s building awareness of bullying prevention, inspiring and empowering others to take positive action, or advocating for those who need support. This year’s event was held at PACER Center in Bloomington and was emceed by KARE 11 meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.
The Faces of Change Award is presented annually to Minnesota students for outstanding acts to make a difference in their communities. Kallestad was nominated for the award by her teacher, Jodie Rasicot, who called her “the perfect example of how a person should treat others.” Rasicot wrote:
“The moment Kaia Kallestad walks into our second-grade classroom, she radiates kindness from her head to her toes. She is a breath of fresh air. She sees the good in everything. There is not one ounce of negativity in this young lady. She finds ways to encourage her classmates throughout our school day. She will say, ‘Great job!’, ‘You can do it!’ and ‘Can I help you?’ to all her classmates. Her infectious smile and quiet, subtle ways can change a student’s mood. Her kindness rubs off on everyone. If we are finishing up our Morning Meeting with one of our daily activities, you will find Kaia giving high-fives to the winners of the game. When a classmate is sharing a story or special personal item, Kaia is sitting, watching and listening to every word. She knows that item is special to her classroom friend, and she wants them to shine during their sharing time. Kaia demonstrates kindness in every act she does.”
The Kallestad family - Kaia; her parents, Jason and Kristen; and her sister, Solveig - and Rasicot attended the Unity Awards banquet on Wednesday night. Kallestad received a special plaque from PACER Center commemorating her Faces of Change Award.