Phoenix Middle School adds “Living Like Lilly” Awards

Live Like Lilly Awards

Click for the weekly award winners.

Students at Phoenix Middle School are being watched by more eyes than just those belonging to the supervising adults in the classrooms, hallways, cafeteria and playground.

There’s a secret group of Phoenix Middle School kids keeping an eye out for examples of good behavior displayed by other students.


Because this group of anonymous students want to recognize their peers who demonstrate they are “Living Like Lilly.”


An anonymous teacher, who is helping the students, says the group approached the Phoenix staff with the idea to award students for living their lives like the late Lilly Perry, a Phoenix Middle School seventh grader who died unexpectedly Dec. 9, 2014, from a medical condition.

“One of the things the students and I talked about was how we can’t go back and thank and recognize Lilly for all of the things she did that were good examples of showing good character,” the anonymous teacher said. “But we have a lot of students here who do those same things Lilly did and we can recognize those students in her honor.”

For her frequent acts of kindness toward anyone and everyone, Lilly’s popularity transcended all grades and student groups. Her memorial service held at Delavan-Darien High School was overflowing with supporters. She truly impacted the lives of those who knew her well and those who didn’t.

The secret group of students meets weekly — in a secret location, of course, with a secret staffer or staffers — to discuss other students who they witnessed doing the right thing. Examples range from being a good sport in athletics events, to being a friend to someone who might not otherwise have much support, to simple tasks like loaning students a pencil or helping pick up dropped books.

“Lilly did a lot of random acts of kindness,” the teacher said. “If someone ever dropped something, she’d be the first one to help them pick it up. She’d open doors, share materials, or a lot of other of these random acts of kindness.”

The students have chosen to remain anonymous so other students don’t display such kind acts in front of them simply in hopes of being recognized. That wouldn’t be random, or from the heart, the teacher said.

“They want kids who are doing these nice things because it is just a part of who they are, like Lilly,” the teacher said.

The students in the small group of “watchers” are wholly responsible for nominating and choosing the two weekly winners. The teacher only offers support when needed.

Students in the group also create locker decorations to recognize the winners. A website was also created to highlight each week’s winners.

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