By Krystal Celis
Cougars for Change was started because Cactus Canyon students realized they could do more to help prevent bullying. Students realized they are capable of changing their own environment.
Students who were a part of Cougars for Change promoted the new program with a spirit week March 5-9.
On Monday, students wore yellow or smiley faces to share a smile. On Tuesday, participants wore red for love and to thank someone who showed them an act of kindness. On Wednesday, students wore glasses to look out for bullying. On Thursday, students word red, white, and blue and signed a pledge to be bully-free. The week ended with a Friday white-out.
The group plans to continue its activities through the rest of the school year and even into other schools.
“I hope to spread our program to all the schools in this district,” said Jessica Kucenski, who started the program in her science classes. “For Cactus Canyon Junior High, we have many different activities planned that will promote empathy, kindness, and acceptance around school and the community.”
Kucenski said there has been a huge improvement in CCJH school environment. Students are kinder to each other. New students feel welcome because students show them kindness. Students who have been bullied feel confident to be assertive and stand up for themselves.
“Former bullies have told me that they no longer bully others,” said Kucenski.
Eighth grader Kelsey Martinez chose to participate in C4C because she wanted to help bring awareness about bullying and the effects of being bullied.
“I felt like it would be different if a student, instead of teacher came to talk about bullying,” said Martinez. “From my experience, students listen better about serious topics when its coming from another student. People very close to me have been affected by it and I want to break the cycle of hurt.”