By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hello Hillsboro: Good deeds meant to be paid forward
Placeholder Image

A rather mysterious incident happened to Jane and me last week and led to the discovery of a truly unusual and uplifting development that is happening in our town, and our school.

I came home and found a big baggy filled with chocolate chip cookies laying by the back door to our house. There was no message attached or any other explanation, other than six names: Michaela, Sarah, Bridgett, Kelsey, Shauna, and Cheyenne.

The only solid bit of information, other than those names, was the obvious fact that they sure knew how to bake delicious cookies!

After searching our minds for some other clues, I talked to Mary Sterba at the Sentry office because she always seems to have a handle on little known snips of nice news about the community.

Sure enough, she discovered that a group of HHS students were involved in an on-going effort to “Pay it Forward,” inspired by a wonderful movie years back that featured young Haley Joel Osment as a youth who taught a whole town the meaning of sharing by passing on good deeds.

Mary and her husband, Dave, previously had a similar experience when they came home one day and found that all the leaves had been raked in their yard and put into piles by the curb.

Being a good reporter, Mary eventually learned about a truly different and rewarding school project developed by a group of students in “Tiger Time” discussions with HHS Guidance Counselor Kelly Sullivan.

I followed up Mary’s lead by calling Kelly, who explained that I had been the recipient of a good deed by some of that group, and was now expected to “Pay it Forward” by doing something nice for someone else. In fact, the neat idea is beginning to spread all over Hillsboro!

Kelly explained that the group of students was upset over all the recent focus on bullying problems, and wanted to counter it with an opposite effect like spreading the idea of doing a good deed for someone without any reason other than caring about their welfare.

I spent many years of my youth attending classes and, although none of them were in one-room school houses like some Hillsboro friends, I learned quite a bit. However, I never learned a lesson as important as the HHS student group is teaching!

Kelly reported that they have 30 or 40 ideas and are expanding into bigger projects like making blankets and sending Christmas cards to our troops overseas.

She said the key word that expresses the reason for the project is the opposite of’s compassion!

The idea is beginning to spread through Facebook and other social media. However, you can’t “Pay it Forward” with a tweet. It must be totally unexpected and hopefully a good deed will be passed on to three other people.

It is truly a wonderful and inspirational idea and the best part is that it doesn’t end after a holiday, but continues on and spreads like a giant glow across the land.

Imagine the Christmas Spirit all year long.

It truly wouldn’t take much....just “Pay it Forward!”


After our report on Greg and Kristi Zimmerman’s upcoming mission trip to Liberia, Joe Nusse has reported that his daughter, Emilie, who has many friends from her days at HHS, is doing mission work in Africa with the Peace Corps.

As communications allow, she is posting a blog online that follows her “travels, travails, and triumphs” as her proud Dad points out.

You can keep yourself up to date on Emile’s latest work at

Our thoughts and many prayers will be with Emilie during her service to others.