West School Shows Its MACHO Side

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West School students know what it means to be MACHO, as this is a familiar phrase around the building that stands for the notion that “my actions can help others.” Students exercise their MACHO hearts and minds by making an effort to do good deeds and demonstrate kindness. 

The MACHO philosophy was introduced at West School last year, when teacher-in-charge Donna Fee coordinated a variety of initiatives centered on the themes that are cornerstones of the MACHO Foundation. The organization was established by the Epstein family with the goal of making children aware that they can all be MACHO “superheroes” who go above and beyond to help someone else.

Students were treated to a visit from Cary Epstein of the MACHO Foundation on Oct. 23, which was held in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week. Mr. Epstein reinforced the MACHO principles and shared the story of his grandfather, Dan Lurie, a fitness icon who earned several Mr. America titles and lived to the age of 91. Mr. Epstein described the hurdles that his grandfather overcame and explained the meaning of “strength of body, strength of mind and strength of character.”

The presentation emphasized the importance of being strong in all three disciplines and practicing a healthy lifestyle. Students learned that there are many benefits to making positive choices with regard to nutrition and exercise, but also in terms of keeping the mind sharp through reading and studying.

Some students took on a pushup challenge, and the entire group recited the MACHO pledge. West School also displayed a donation basket filled with soap, socks and other items that were collected for the flood victims in South Carolina.

Throughout the school year, students are encouraged to create MACHO moments through acts of kindness, big or small. They have the opportunity to write down the MACHO experiences that they witness and share them with Mrs. Fee for special inclusion in morning announcements and on a MACHO honor roll.

“Being MACHO is an attitude and a way of life here at West School,” said Mrs. Fee. “There is no right or wrong way to be MACHO. You can champion a cause that is close to your heart, become a champion to another person by supporting them or just live your day-to-day life with kindness.”

The school’s Family Matters program reinforces the MACHO philosophy through team-building activities and self-reflection. Both faculty and students highlight good deeds and practice kindness every day with fidelity.

The MACHO values directly tie in to the district’s Social Emotional Learning Standards, which are interwoven into the curriculum and throughout the school day. Students develop a sense of personal responsibility in making appropriate decisions, learn to recognize how certain situations and their emotions are linked to their behavior, and understand how to interact with others and celebrate commonalities and differences.