Unity Day Walk Against Bullying

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Unityday111115BEvery school in the district participated in the third annual Unity Day observance against bullying. Launched by the district’s Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force, Port Washington’s version of this national day of observance featured anti-bullying lessons and demonstrations.

The highlight of the day was an inaugural Unity Walk on the Schreiber High School track, which included student and staff recitals and musical performances that carried messages of kindness, acceptance and inclusion. The reading of a Maya Angelou poem kicked off the event, followed by acoustic guitar sets by students, dance routines by teachers, students and athletes, a one-mile walk through the cross-country trail by the cross-country teams and a final lap led by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Mooney.

Unityday111115ADirector of Health, Physical Education and Athletics at Schreiber, Stephanie Joannon, is one of the cochairs of the Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force, along with Board of Education President Karen Sloan. The Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force is a community outreach committee working to implement a comprehensive school and community approach to help foster a safe and drug-free learning environment that supports student academic achievement.

“We wanted to have something where the whole community could take part in, an antibullying Unity Day,” said Joannon. “The Unity Day Walk gave us that opportunity to have a community and school event and we used this as a fundraiser for the Task Force that relies on donations. We had just about 400 people in the walk and raised over $2,000.” The day culminated in antibullying awareness.

Unityday111115CDuring the day, all schools got involved in antibullying activities of some sort. “The Task Force sponsored orange bracelets that read ‘Stand Up to Bullying,’” Joannon said. “We asked all to wear orange on this day and the bracelets made it so everyone, staff, students, teachers and paraprofessionals, all had orange on. People preordered T-shirts that read ‘Unity in the Community’ on the front and ‘The End of Bullying Begins With Me’ on the back.”

Joannon continued, “We kicked off the walk with a reading of Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Still I Rise’ by the Weber health teachers. The group then walked for half a mile while football player Christian Camacho sang ‘Show You’ in English and Spanish. He changed the lyrics to reflect unity. The field hockey coach briefly spoke about how she was bullied in high school and wished all schools could celebrate standing up to bullying.”

Three students, Tyler Nelson, Diego Espinoza and Eden Franco, sang a song acoustically.

“I am so happy with the great support from students, teachers, administrators, staff and community. We showed that bullying has no place in our society and today we made a statement in Port Washington,” said Joannon.

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