Bay Lake student earns barbecue lunch for class

Elementary school fourth-grader Aayat Beg’s kindness filled the hearts — and bellies — of her fellow classmates.

Sonny’s and Bay Lake Elementary School staff congratulated Aayat Beg for her random acts of kindness.
Sonny’s and Bay Lake Elementary School staff congratulated Aayat Beg for her random acts of kindness.
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Joanna McClellan’s fourth-grade classroom at Bay Lake Elementary School was treated to a barbecue lunch Friday, Feb. 16, compliments of Sonny’s BBQ after one student was recognized for her many acts of kindness.

Teachers each submitted the name of one student who has been kind and supportive to his or her fellow classmates. McClellan nominated Aayat Beg, who was selected by the school administration as the overall winner.

Members of Sonny’s BBQ’s Kindness Crew showed up at the school to present Aayat with balloons, a kindness certificate, candy, a Sonny’s gift card and restaurant swag — and lunch for her class.

While the lunch — consisting of pork, chicken and macaroni-and-cheese — was being served, McClellan shared with the class why Aayat was chosen the overall winner.

“You always follow directions, I never have to talk to you about behavior, and you always get along with everybody,” she said. “You’re always willing to help; I never see you arguing with other kids. If I ask you to work with somebody, you always (do) and you’re not complaining.”

Random Acts of Kindness Week was Feb. 13 through 19, with Random Acts of Kindness Day occurring Saturday, Feb. 17. The holiday encourages people to undertake random acts of kindness in their communities, celebrating those dedicated to making a difference who often go unrecognized for their efforts.

The Sonny’s franchise created The Random Acts of BBQ: Student Edition program to honor students who exemplify selflessness and kindness. In this student program, the restaurant celebrates students who consistently go out of their way to spread kindness to those around them.

In January, participating schools awarded Sonny’s BBQ gift cards to students they observed performing acts of kindness towards fellow students, friends, teachers and staff. The schools shared these moments with the Sonny’s Kindness Crew for consideration. The Kindness Crew is a group of passionate Sonny’s BBQ team members dedicated to spreading kindness and helping others, all under the leadership of Chief Kindness Officer Tara Boyle. During Random Acts of Kindness Week, the Kindness Crew selected winners from each of the eight school and surprised the entire class with a special BBQ celebration.

“It is such a privilege to celebrate this holiday once again and, for the very first time, to highlight some amazing students who are making a difference in their classroom and community,” Boyle said. “We care so deeply about spreading kindness, and the stories that have been shared about these students are truly remarkable. We cannot wait to have the opportunity to highlight their selflessness and to honor them with some BBQ!”

As a part of this year’s Random Acts of Kindness Week, the Sonny’s team also partnered with the Blessings in a Backpack organization to pack more than 1,000 bags for students in Central Florida and donate $1,000 to the cause.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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