by Alaina Fox
In a climate of divisiveness and tensions, kindness between people – especially those who are not already close – seems to be a rarity. Given the hyper-competitiveness of high school, students often find it easier to act with hostility instead of compassion towards others. However, Calyx King, a sophomore at Los Gatos High School, wants to remedy this situation. On Sept. 16, King created the Instagram account @lghsaffirmations. The idea is that students message the account with compliments for other students. The account then posts the compliment with the recipient tagged, and either credits the sender or keeps it anonymous if they request anonymity. In only two weeks, the account received over 64 submissions.
The account encourages positive reflections on a variety of topics. Using the question sticker feature on Instagram, King polls students on their favorite teachers, the assigned readings they most enjoy, or to simply see how their day is going. If a person responds that they’ve had a rough day, King immediately offers to listen and provide support. “I’m always here for anyone who needs to talk. You are all valid human beings who deserve to be listened to!” she assures her followers.
The 2019-2020 school year is her first at LGHS, and King kicked it off by fostering a more welcoming community on campus. By making students more comfortable exchanging kind words, she has facilitated connections between people who otherwise may not have interacted. The platform gives students a safe space to express their admiration and gratitude for people outside their friend groups. She explained, “Specifically, I’d like to accomplish a greater sense of support, community, and unconditional acceptance at LGHS.”
Though King revealed her identity on Sept. 28, the account was originally anonymous. She reasoned, “I’m just running this account to help others express their appreciation. I don’t want the focus to be on me!” However, many followers requested to know who was behind the concept. “What has surprised me is how many people want to know my identity. I have gotten a lot of requests from people wanting to know which student runs this account.”
King plans to continue spreading positivity through @lghsaffirmations for as long as she can, and she hopes the influx of touching messages stays consistent.