Starting a conversation has never been so refreshing: Student encourages community engagement through lifesaver mints

Luca Giordano
Video Editor

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Senior Jackson Bacilek poses for a photo in the band hallway. Bacilek has been handing out mints since his junior year. Photo by Luca Giordano

Senior Jackson Bacilek has handed out mints to students in the hallways since his junior year.

Bacilek buys large bags of Lifesaver mints from Schnucks and Target to hand out during the school day. Bacilek became well known for his mints, often being asked for them.

“As I kept on going, more people kept on coming up to me and being like, ‘Mint man! Let me get a mint,’” Bacilek said.

Bacilek started his mint distribution as a way to spark up conversation. After the pandemic, Bacilek noticed how quiet students were in the hallways.

“There’s so many kids that just say nothing,” Bacilek said.

Seeing the shyness of students upon returning to school, Bacilek used the lifesaver mints as a means to start conversation with quiet students. If the conversation fails, the student is still given a lifesaver mint.

The mints add an element of surprise to the daily life of students. At any point in the class or hallway they could be handed or thrown a mint.

“Definitely made my day better. It brought a little highlight to what was going to be a mundane physics class,” junior Zephyr Dishman said. Dishman was “minted” once during his physics class.

The conversations started using mints are a reflection of Bacilek’s character. Bacilek recounted playing role-playing video games where conversations are started.

“It’s a reflection of outgoing. I just like seeing what people have to say,” Bacilek said.

Bacilek wants this project to be big. To continue the mint distribution, Bacilek has invited freshmen to hand out mints. Bacilek provides these freshmen with mints, so they can hand out mints to others.

“I’m the new captain of this new mint militia, alright. Matthew Peterson, you’re the vice-captain, all of you freshmen are freshmen foot soldiers,” Bacilek said, recounting his recruitment of freshmen to distribute mints.

Although the mint distribution is meant to be wholesome and harmless, a development has emerged which has seen mint distributors throw mints at students and leave crushed mints on the ground, still in their wrappers. Bacilek acknowledges these developments.

“Well, at first it was kind of the intention. I was like ‘Let me just start a trend around school of people throwing mints,’ and then now I’m just like ‘Well actually let me just interact with some freshmen. Let me just interact with some kids, give them some memories,’” Bacilek said.

Students also acknowledged the mint throwing.

“I mean there’s people throwing mints, so if someone doesn’t see that it could get crushed up, it could be a problem on the floor, it could hit someone in the eye, but then again I think the pros outweigh the cons,” Dishman said.

“I was standing in the sandwich line and somebody from behind threw a mint at me so I would be distracted and then cut me in the sandwich line,” senior Maddie Wood said.

Overall, the mints provide conversation, fun and community.

“Literally everyone has dialogue. Everybody has something to say,” Bacilek said.

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Luca Giordano- Video Editor

This will be Luca Giordano’s first year on ECHO Staff, but he also made several contributions while taking journalism class his junior year.


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