Bright Faces, New Smiles


Maya Gill, Copy Editor

For some people, school is a place of cherished memories. The six minute walking periods where laughter and conversation combust or the satisfaction of getting an A. However, researchers from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study Center concluded that 75% of students have negative emotions surrounding school. At Merrill F. West High School, the club, Project Smile, centers around spreading positivity and fostering a nurturing environment on campus. 

Senior Raina Dent is the 2022-2023 Media Manager for Project Smile, who is responsible maintaining all socials, essentially performing as the spokesperson for club announcements. In the previous years, the club has received off the chart feedback with active participation. Dent explains how, “People really enjoyed our activities such as the lunch picnics and seasonal events. Give a Crush to your Crush on Valentine’s Day, Friendsgiving and free hot chocolate goodie bags.” According to the Mental Health Foundation United Kingdom, acts of kindness can help boost feelings of confidence and encourage others to contribute to a more positive community. “We have an Instagram and TikTok (@projectsmilewhs) that we recommend following.”, Dent states.  

Senior Camila Lopez reminisces on why she joined. “I joined the club honestly because my friends were interested, but I quickly developed a love for it. Everyone is so friendly, patient and very involved.”

Lopez then goes on to explain how she believes it impacts the culture on campus in small yet significant ways. “Even the small stickers in the bathroom giving compliments have gone a long way when someone needs it. I continue to be present because the energy is present and it truly lives up to it’s name.” Senior Jazzy Patchell and Senior Esmeralda Hernandez both add on to Lopez’s idea of how the club helped them build connections with their peers, serving as an invaluable part of their high school experience. 

Senior Tania Torres, the 2022-2023 Vice President, explains her reasoning behind campaigning for this position. “I wanted to be an officer because I knew it was a great organization that brought students together. I had ideas that could make our club more outgoing that everyone would feel safe to go to.” 

Everyone should feel welcomed and proud in their school, and Project Smile’s door is always open.