Wings of Kindness

Matthew Simmonds

There was not a dry eye in the room when the speaker and founder of “The Spread Your Wings Project,” Ian Hockley, came to the Academy in the fall of 2023. He spoke about his son, Dylan, who was one of the many victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. At just 6 years old, Dylan became another name in the long list of children lost to school shootings. Crushed, Hockley decided that he would do something with his grief and love for his son. He created this foundation to spread awareness about Dylan’s story, as well as to spread awareness about the global threat of school shootings. 

Hockley valiantly shares his son’s story to school after school, spreading love and compassion with each community he touches. What he leaves in his wake is a program called Wingman. Intended for students, the organization is student-run and student-engaged. Leaders are chosen and trained to run the program effectively and with care. The organization is centered around bullying, and teaching a compassionate, inclusive, and empathetic community. 

The goals of this project complemented the virtues attached to the Academy’s own Kind Campaign and so the two clubs were consolidated into one: “Wings of Kindness.” The meetings include fun activities for all students to participate in. The groups combine all four grades, allowing students to intermingle with new faces and different people. The time allotted for these gatherings allows for reflection, rest, and fun, allowing a break from academics and time to interact with new people and classmates alike.


“The Spread Your Wings Project”

Link for more information on “Wingman” Organization:

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    SofiaJan 31, 2024 at 10:19 am

    This was an incredibly moving speech. I hope to continue his legacy through the rest of high school, college, and the rest of my life.