Students’ “Happiness for Heroes” boosts morale at Cape Cod Healthcare - Cape Cod Healthcare

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Published on February 16, 2021

Students’ “Happiness for Heroes” boosts morale at Cape Cod Healthcare


“Happiness for Heroes” is the brainchild of 7th and 8th grade students on the Sandwich STEM Academy council who wanted to send a special thank-you to everyone who works at Cape Cod Healthcare.

The entire student body—grades seven through 12—joined in, along with their teachers, to create high-energy and heartfelt messages for local healthcare heroes.

Longtime student council advisors Debra Morris and Jeff Duffany shepherded the effort. Video production teacher Dan Riley and his high school students put the piece together.

“We’re hoping the video puts a smile on the faces of everyone at Cape Cod Healthcare, especially since it’s coming from young people,” Duffany, 8th grade civics teacher, explained. “We want to give our healthcare heroes an extra little bit of energy to keep going because they’ve been dealing with the pandemic for almost a year. The video lets everyone know we care, we support them and appreciate what they’re doing.”

Staying Connected

Students and teachers were struggling to find ways to connect with each other and the community as the pandemic entered its eleventh month in January. With a hybrid learning environment that keeps students apart to keep them healthy, typical student council-sponsored activities that inspire leadership, social interaction and a sense of community were hard to come by.

That’s when Morris, 7th grade English teacher, and Duffany encouraged students to re-think how they could stay involved and serve the community.

The students came up with a number of ideas, and together they chose “Happiness for Heroes” because it served a variety of needs on so many levels. 

“It’s been tough because we haven’t been connected to each other so much this school year,” Morris said. “We can’t hold dances and all the social events we typically have. This video is something that helped us get that connection back a little bit, while also helping us connect with everyone at Cape Cod Healthcare who really deserve our thanks.”

Creating Unique Expressions of Thanks

Some students and teachers took selfies holding hand-made signs. Some found other original ways to let healthcare workers know they care. Together, their upbeat messages hit the right tempo.

“We reached out to everyone, and the response was amazing,” Morris said. “It was a real team effort focused on a sense of care and kindness, and that’s something we’re grateful for.”

Michael Lauf, President and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare, said the school’s video was greatly appreciated by the staff that has been combatting the pandemic over the past year.

“I want to thank everyone at Sandwich STEM Academy for their thoughtfulness and creativity. Speaking on behalf of all of the Cape Cod Healthcare caregivers, we are all inspired and energized by your thoughtful expressions of support,” he said.