Each year leadership classes throughout the Kamloops-Thompson School District come up with innovative, effective and even amusing ways of stamping out bullying.
Now the most creative anti-bullying campaigns throughout the district will gather under one roof for the first time in a lead-up to Anti-Bullying Day on Feb. 27.
A Clearwater secondary school movie, a Westsyde secondary school student’s t-shirt design and a Sahali secondary student’s song are just a few of the projects on display Feb. 19 at the Henry Grube Education Centre.
“It’s going to be an exciting day,” said Greg Gartrell, Chase secondary school vice-principal and one of the event organizers. “I work in a small outlying rural school. So we have a smaller leadership program, but sometimes we can use ideas from the bigger schools and adapt it to our school.”
Among the presentations will be Leah De Zeeuw’s performance of her four-minute song, Loneliness, which she wrote last year after hearing about the suicide of 15-year-old Port Coquitlam bullying victim Amanda Todd.
“I saw a girl my age who had taken her life because of bullying and it needs to be spoken about,” the Sahali secondary student told The Daily News.
Such performances fulfill De Zeeuw’s reason for writing the song — getting the message out.
“If more people talked about it, then more people would get angry and try and put a stop to it,” she said.
Westsyde secondary student Rachelle Edwards used her artistic talent to reveal the impact of bullying.
Edwards recently won a school-wide t-shirt design contest with a startling pink-hued image of a bird in flight and the words Rising Up Against Bullying.
“I felt like the best way to raise awareness around bullying was through a bold, awesome design that people would really respond to,” said Edwards.
The Grade 12 student said she has extensive experience with bullying both as a victim and a bystander.
“It breaks my heart,” she said. “I always try to do my best to either stand up to the bully or say something to the victim so they know they’re not alone.”
She said the situation has improved in her time as a secondary student thanks to initiatives like Anti-Bullying Day and leadership class projects.
Edwards’ creation has been silk screened onto t-shirts and is being sold as a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club.
Leadership organizers are also importing inspiration for the Feb. 19 event with keynote speaker and “certified etiquette and protocol trainer” Sara Hacala. The graduate of the Protocol School of Washington has a passion for helping people advance their lives by elevating their social IQs.
“Respect for the diversity of others and presenting oneself in a respectful and dignified manner are important elements in the communication process and the flow of ideas,” says Hacala.
“The art of treating others well not only impacts the civility of a work environment and the level of productivity, it is an essential quality of leadership.”
The school district intends to continue bringing leadership classes together to share projects and ideas. The next planned session is in the spring, when students will work on the United Way’s Day of Caring.