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Are you kinder than a 5th grader

By Staff | Apr 7, 2008

Connor Olson sits at his desk in the fifth-grade classroom at BEA Elementary School. Connor received a kindness award after being nominated by his teacher Dave Kittleson.

The question is, ‘What’s the definition of a pal?’ If you said ‘an intimate friend or comrade,’ you’re right; but if you hugged the person standing next to you, you’re actually kinder than a fifth-grader.

Confused? Don’t feel bad, fifth grade is a lot harder these days. (Just kidding.)

Actually, unless you know Blue Earth Area fifth-grader Connor Olson, you probably wouldn’t understand.

You see, Connor actually grabbed a fellow classmate and gave them a big hug and smile to demonstrate what it means to be a pal after being asked the definition by his teacher.

It’s just one of many acts that makes Connor a stand out in the area of kindness.

It’s also one of the reasons the fifth-grader will receive a national award for kindness as part of the 2008 Character Awards, given to one person in fourth, fifth or sixth grade by the Youth Frontiers Program; an educational organization that travels to schools in 17 states, tackling tough subjects like bullying. The group traveled to Blue Earth in January to work with students and teachers, offering day-long retreats on courage, kindness and respect. Connor, nominated by his teacher Dave Kittleson, was first on the minds of many educators at Blue Earth Area Elementary, says Kittleson. In fact, the teacher said he thought of Connor while members of Youth Frontier Program were still explaining the award. Before he could say anything, he noticed other educators in the room were mentioning Connor’s name.

“Connor is a genuinely kind, caring and thoughtful young man,” says Kittleson. “All through school, that hasn’t changed.”

In his nomination letter, Kittleson gave numerous examples of Connor’s good deeds and acts; which include helping classmates with their work and giving his own money as a memorial for a great-uncle who had passed away.

“Connor cares about everyone he comes in contact with,” said Kittleson in the nomination letter. “His whole life revolves around being kind.”

The award isn’t the first time Connor has been honored for his thoughtfulness, however. Just this year he said he also received a ‘Kindness Boomerang Sticker’ at BEA after offering his lunch to a fellow student.

And while Connor is very excited to have won, he says the people who deserve the credit are those who he has modeled his life after — his parents and grandparents.

Connor will receive his award on May 12 in Bloomington. Along with the accolade, Connor will be the subject of a video produced by Youth Frontiers and receive a $500 savings bond.

He is the son of Lori and Dwight Olson.