JMS club, JET promote ‘Thumbs Up’ kind of day

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Jasper Middle School teacher Anna Vonderheide, left, and ROOS Club members greet students as they arrived during Thumbs Up Thursday hosted by the school's Respecting Ourselves and Other Students (ROOS) Club on Thursday.


JASPER — Voices saying, “Have a great day,” could be heard from the Jasper Middle School parking lot Thursday morning as members of Jasper Middle School’s ROOS Club lined the walkways outside school doors to cheer on and high-five their classmates walking into school.

The morning greetings are a weekly occurrence at the school. The ROOS — Respecting Ourselves and Other Students — Club holds Thumbs Up Thursday each week as a way to pump up the students for the end of the week. The ROOS Club is like the middle school version of Students Against Destructive Decisions, club sponsor Jill Wigand said. The group’s main focus is on bullying and drug use, but they also branch out to find ways to improve morale throughout the school. That’s where activities like Thumbs Up Thursday come in.

“We do it in the morning, but it creates positive attitudes for the rest of the day,” said Julian Bronner, an eighth-grader and ROOS Club member.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of Thumbs Up Thursday, and this week, members of Jasper Engines & Transmission’s Positive Attitude Group joined the festivities. JET’s Positive Attitude Group has been around for a decade and is dedicated to employee morale at the Jasper company. Thursday was the first time the group took their mission into the larger community, but they’re looking forward to reaching out more.

Jasper Middle School eighth-graders Emma Ruxer, left, and Karleigh Lemond greet students as they arrive during Thumbs Up Thursday hosted by the school's Respecting Ourselves and Other Students (ROOS) Club on Thursday. 

“(Sharing positivity) is our goal at Jasper Engines and anywhere we can go in the community,” said Chip Morris, call center director and a member of JET’s Positive Attitude Group.

Thumbs Up Thursday is just one of several initiatives ROOS Club has planned for Jasper Middle School this semester. On Friday, the club will recognize International Day of Peace for the first time, and by October, the club hopes to have High-Five Friday — which will be similar to Thumbs Up Thursday — up and going.

For International Day of Peace, student leaders from Jasper High School will come to the middle school to meet with students before classes start. During the gathering, students will discuss how they can be agents for peace in the world. Once the school day begins, the middle school plans to hold a moment of silence during the morning announcements and show a video from the Peace Corps about what teens can do to promote peace in their communities.

When the ROOS Club launches High-Five Friday, students will enjoy two days of morning greetings. Each student will also receive a High-Five Friday T-shirt similar to the ones ROOS Club members and teachers currently wear for Thumbs Up Thursday. The T-shirts are a way to build community at the school.

Jasper Engines & Transmission's Positive Attitude Group member Audra Dilger passes out smile cards during Thumbs Up Thursday at Jasper Middle School on Thursday.

ROOS Club member Kella Lichlyter said the new initiative will also be a way to raise the energy level of students on the last day of the week when a lot of students have tests.

“We want to get them pumped up for that,” she said.

The concept behind Thumbs Up Thursday and High-Five Friday is simple, but such activities make a difference in the attitudes of the students and staff, Wigand said.

“There’s a little bit more energy among all of us,” Wigand said. “Everybody needs to be told you’re doing a great job.”

Jasper Middle School ROOS Club members offer high-fives as sixth-graders make their way to class during Thumbs Up Thursday at the school on Thursday.

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