TROY - Some Troy Intermediate School students have learned that a little kindness can go a long way.

I visited the school on Tuesday, where the winners of an essay contest were taking part in an activity that was tied to the Rachel's Challenge program presented last year in the district.

Rachel's Challenge focuses on Rachel Scott, who was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, and it seeks to prevent bullying and violence and foster positive relations among young people, according to the "Rachel's Challenge" website.

The students' essays were about the person who influenced them the most and why. Jennifer Judson, the school counselor at the intermediate school, noted that the essays were tied into Rachel's Challenge because one of Rachel's goals was to have positive influences in life.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Hutter's Hilltop Florist of Troy gathered with the 18 winners of the essay contest in the cafeteria.

Cheryl Hutter, a former Troy teacher, representing the business, and the owner of the business, Marilynne Hutter Burchard, helped the students make bouquets with mini carnations. They donated the flowers and materials used in making the bouquets.

Cheryl told the students they could reward themselves with the bouquets or give them to someone in an act of kindness.

"We are rewarding them with flowers after their efforts of trying to write these essays," Marilynne said. "They were phenomenal."

Cheryl was impressed by the essays. "I think it's a real successful project. Some of the teachers were in tears reading them."

One of the students, Mallori Morse, a fifth grader, wrote about her brother, Mitchell, 15.

She said she watches him "make all the right decisions." She said he is a role model for her.

When her brother sees someone bullying someone, she said, he tells them, "stop, that's not nice."

Kevin Young, another student, wrote about his grandpa. "He does lots of fun stuff with me, and he's really nice," he said.

The winners were Kaelee Carey, Jayln Darrow, Kevin Young, Chastity McClinitic, Molly Davison, Kani Faust, Sadie Pozarycki, Nakisha Gwin, Jesse Spencer, Mallori Morse, Emili Sterling, Kirsten Purcell, LeeRay Gwin, Dylan Kovac, Hunter Wolfe, Marissa Bulkley, Faith Foulkrod, and Haley Frey.

Mrs. Hutter's gave out 26 bouquets at the school. That included a bouquet for each of the 18 essay winners, with the remainder given to staff members at the school.

The number was symbolic of the 26 victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year in Newtown, Conn.

Do you have an idea for the Western Bradford Notebook? You can reach Eric Hrin at (570) 297-5251; email: