Ron James, left, with a student from Our Lady of Sorrows School.
Ron James, left, with a student from Our Lady of Sorrows School.
One event Maureen Tuohy planned for Catholic Schools Week was to host an assembly that reflected a message that she and the school teachers try to impart to their students every day. The topic was on kindness.

Since becoming principal of Our Lady of Sorrows School, Hamilton, Tuohy said kindness has been one of the most important messages she feels she can demonstrate to the students because “everyone can be kind.

“It doesn’t hurt, cost anything and it ultimately can turn someone’s day around,” she said. “Additionally, being kind is a choice and we each make choices every day, hopefully, always trying to make the good choice.”

The assembly on kindness held Jan. 29 featured a presentation by Ron James who shared his compelling story about the poor choices he made throughout his life, including those he made about school when he was in second grade. James, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, told of how he eventually became addicted to drugs, homeless and ended up serving 25 years in prison for multiple crimes. While in prison, he said he “turned his thinking around,” accepted responsibility for his actions and “began to choose to do good, learned to read and was released from prison with job offers.” He went on to start his own company and feels fortunate that he now has the opportunity to share his story with students with the hope to “reinforce how important it is to make good choices.”

As she observed the students during the assembly, Tuohy said they “all had a terrific response to Mr. James” and was pleased how they were able to share some of the positive and negative choices they have made as well as the kindnesses they can show to others.

“They were very receptive to his upbeat, inclusive style,” said Tuohy.

Fourth-grader Connor Burden said it made an impression when James stated “that two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Seventh-grader Gianna Casterline said that James reinforced for her that when making choices, to “follow your own feeling and don’t make a decision because of someone else.

“Always follow your gut,” Casterline asserted, “and stick to what you know is the right thing to do.”

Along with the students, Tuohy said the faculty was also impressed with James’ delivery and story, noting that several were moved to tears because of his honesty with the middle school students.

“Everyone was touched to an extent by him and I would recommend him to anyone who would like a motivational speaker to address choices that we make as well as caring for each other hand showing kindness to all.”