By Holly Stillman
Cougar News Blog
The Communities for Change organization paid a visit to Superstition Mountain Elementary School March 8 to raise awareness on bullying in other schools.
The group, which has members from Cactus Canyon Junior High and Apache Junction High School, held two assemblies, one for kindergartners through second grade and one for third grade through sixth grade. Three members of C4C gave speeches to the younger kids and shared their bullying experiences. For some, the experience was very moving.
“The visit was very emotional for most of us,” said eighth grader Abby Davis. “It was difficult to talk about being bullied in front of such a large audience, in the end though, it was well worth it.”
Many of the junior high students found it easy to connect with the elementary kids, either by mutual friends, having the same interests, or have been bullied themselves. Most students at SMES were able to relate to the acts of bullying.
“The students were a lot like us in ways. They were already experiencing some things that I wasn’t exposed to until my fifth grade year in elementary school,” Davis said. “It’s nice for them to be able to relate to someone who is older than them and feel comfortable enough to share what was going on in their lives. These students agree that bullying is wrong and something needs to be done about it.”
Most C4C members thought of the visit as a fun way to connect with younger students and teach them how to better themselves, while others saw it as an opportunity to inspire others with their own accounts of bullying.
“I chose to go because I know what it feels like to be bullied. I made incorrect decisions on how to deal with that bully and that is something I really regret,” said Davis. “I want the students to learn that what is happening to some of them is not right and shouldn’t happen. Our group also wants to stress the correct way to deal with one, like I said, I regret what I did to stop the person that was bullying me and I don’t want anyone else to deal with that.”
Cougars for Change thought of ways for them to leave their “paw prints” on the school to remind them that bullying is not okay and that we all must work together to prevent bullying from happening.
“We had each group play a game that taught them more about a specific value,” said C4C adviser Jessica Kucenski. “We then read a story about bullying to the K to second-grade group. C4C members shared their personal experiences about bullying to the third to sixth grade (group).”
The event was such a success, C4C plans to do this again with other elementaries in the district soon.
“We would like to visit the other three elementary schools in the future,” said Kuenski, “We are also considering putting on an assembly next year for both Cactus Canyon and AJ High. We personalize each one, so each one is slightly different and unique.”
C4C saw this visit as a chance to reach out to others in our community and work together to prevent bullying at our schools.
“Our school district needs to work together, and our schools need to support one another,” Kucenski said. “I think that these visits are a great way to do that. C4C wanted to make sure that SMES students know that we support their values. We support their efforts to stand up against bullying, and if we work together, we can do far more than anything alone.”