Walnut Middle School — Grand Island, Nebraska
National Award Winning School

Walnut Middle Schools Principal Vikki Deuel alongside
Counselor Mary Ann Richards

Walnut Middle School began a partnership with the Hands Project in 2000. Students gather for the Purple Hands Pledge® Assembly

From Chaos to Character:
Walnut Middle School’s Story

Anyone visiting Walnut Middle School on any day of the school year will see everything at Walnut come to a halt at 8:05 am, when every student and every adult in the building, led by student volunteers on the intercom, repeat the United States Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Purple Hands Pledge®.

Students know that taking the Purple Hands Pledge® each morning is a promise to take responsibility for their words and their actions during the day!

Teachers and support staff have continually emphasized the importance of respect and responsibility in the classroom and in informal student interactions.”

“In the months since October 2000, the Hands of the Governor and the Secretary of State of Nebraska, several professional athletes, a U.S. Congressman, Grand Island have joined with us as Purple Hands Partners.

Extensive local media coverage has helped students feel tremendous self-respect as community leaders who can tell Grand Island “Every person can make a difference in stopping violence by taking the Purple Hands Pledge®.”

Walnut Middle School—Awards
The Purple Hands Pledge® is recited daily. Students Purple Hands Pledges are Displayed Year-Round!
2000/2001 Implementation of The Purple Hands Pledge®

Respect and responsibility can not be “measured” in the same way that math and reading skills are; there are no standardized tests to tell us whether or not we’re making headway in our journey toward a safer and more nurturing school environment. We do, however, have discipline reports on Walnut Middle School students that have been compiled over the past three years.

Click on the graphs below to see Walnut’s Success!
Behavioral Problems have Gone Down and Test Scores Up!

“Students know that taking the Pledge each morning is a promise to take responsibility for their words and actions during the day.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal - Walnut Middle School

“The other middle schools in our district have joined with us as Purple Hands partners.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal - Walnut Middle School

Local media coverage of the Pledge has helped our students feel tremendous self-respect as community leaders.

Vikki Deuel, Principal - Walnut Middle School

“Teachers and support staff have continually emphasized the importance of respect and responsibility in the classroom and in informal student interations.

Vikki Deuel, Principal - Walnut Middle School

“In the months since October 2000, the hands of the Governor and the Secretary of State of Nebraska, several professional athletes, a U.S. Congressman, and a U.S. Senator, have found their place on our walls.

Vikki Deuel, Principal - Walnut Middle School

“In the old days, we used to say we weren’t going to work, we were going to war… Purple Hands has helped change that”

Vikki Deuel, Principal - Walnut Middle School

“If everyone lived by the pledge, law enforcement wouldn’t have as much work to do”

Vikki Deuel, Principal - Walnut Middle School

“Dignitaries from local government and law enforcement joined high school athletes, local pastors, and school district leaders to get “Purple Hands” off to a rousing start!”

Vikki Deuel, Principal - Walnut Middle School

“Character is a lifelong trait that doesn’t end at 3:30 p.m. on a Friday.”

Student, Walnut Middle School

“the pledge is a great antiviolence message because it reminds children that words can hurt people as much as physical violence”

Captain Pete Kortum, Hastings Police Department

“It’s been an effective program”

Rick Ressel, Grand Island Police Officer

“In the months since, the hands of the Governor and the Secretary of State of Nebraska, several professional athletes, a U.S Congressman, a U.S. senator… and mickey mouse… have found their place on our walls.” 

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School

“I like the Purple Hands because it helped the kids in our school be more respectful. I think it was a great idea.”

Michelle Bergholz, Walnut Middle School - Student

“Thank you. You’re great. I love Purple Hands. It helps so much people are really respecting others now. Thank you for creating this.”

Johnny Boudmounting, Walnut Middle School - Student

“The Purple Hands program is a big success. The school has turned around and has become a peaceful, caring place. Thank you for sharing this program with us.”

Neill Hahn, Walnut Middle School - Student

“I think the Purple Hands program is a great idea. It has really helped our school and the attitude of the students. Now kids don’t have to worry. I would tell any school about this fine program.”

Tavo Sandoval, Walnut Middle School - Student

“Thank you for inventing Purple Hands. With out Purple Hands our school would not be so respectful. And I like to say the Purple Hands Pledge®. Oh and happy Halloween!!”

Heather Cash, Walnut Middle School - Student

“I really like Purple Hands. The best thing about Purple Hands is our school, Walnut, has a lot less fights and all of the students are more respectful. Thank you very much for your contributions to our country and inventing such a wonderful program. Thanks again!”

Lyndsey Bacon, Walnut Middle School - Student

“ Thank you very much for starting the Purple Hands program! It has really improved our school! You had an excellent idea!!”

Brooke Bartek, Walnut Middle School - Student

“Thank you for starting Purple Hands. It has stopped most of the violence at my school. I think it is a great program. It has helped me be kind to people.”

Chris Boroff, Walnut Middle School - Student

“Thank you for creating Purple Hands. It is a great idea. I like doing good things for my school.”

Adam Reed, Walnut Middle School - Student

“I think that the Purple Hands program is great! It is affecting our school a lot. I have seen less bullying, teasing, fighting, name-calling, and violence in our school. I never have had to worry about any violence in our school. Now I feel safer at our school since we started the Purple Hands program. Thanks a lot!”

Tara Klimek, Walnut Middle School - Student

“ The thing that I really like about Purple Hands is that I can go to school every day and not worry about people making fun of me and also I don’t have to worry about violence.”

Stormy Sickler, Walnut Middle School - Student

“Thank you so much for starting the Purple Hands program. It has helped our whole school be more respectful and responsible.”

Brittany Benson, Walnut Middle School - Student

“I like being in Purple Hands. Because it’s fun and we learn not to do stuff that is bad. Thank you for inviting us to shape and join you in helping not to hurt by using our hands and words for hurting myself or others. P.S. Thank you, it was a good idea.”

Amber Kubik, Walnut Middle School - Student

“ I love how it stopped all the violence in the schools. Thanks a lot.”

Angie Boersen, Walnut Middle School - Student
Harvest of Harmony Parade

Walnut Middle School Students prepare their Purple Hands Pledge® float for the “Harmony of Harvest” parade in October 2007. Every year, the parade has a theme meant to represent Grand Island and the current development taking place in the community. Area communities, businesses, clubs, service organizations, and individuals can participate by entering a decorated float relating to the parade theme. Thousands gather from all over the state of Nebraska in Grand Island to watch the annual event.