Unity Day pro­motes stand against bul­ly­ing

Record Observer - - School - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — “It’s im­por­tant to be fair to one another ... United we stand for No Bul­ly­ing,” was the theme be­hind the 2016 Unity Day at Queen Anne’s County Pub­lic Schools, ac­cord­ing to Char­ac­ter Counts Co­or­di­na­tor and coach Elaine But­ler.

But­ler rep­re­sented “Fair­ness,” one of the Char­ac­ter Counts pil­lars, at schools. “I feel like this is a good pil­lar to choose to rep­re­sent on Unity Day,” she said. Across the county, ele­men­tary, mid­dle and high schools met to­gether to em­brace a day of com­ing to­gether in unity.

The stu­dents — with the help of fac­ulty — as­sem­bled out­side their schools last week and spelled out mes­sages of “Unity” and “United We Stand” for the yearly ae­rial pho­to­graphs, com­pli­ments of the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

The schools also had short assem­blies with char­ac­ters from Six Flags Amer­ica, cheer­lead­ers from both Queen Anne’s County and Kent Is­land high schools and lo­cal mas­cots from Chick-fil-A, Rita’s Ital­ian Ice, Sub­way and Hardee’s.

The mes­sage was pos­i­tive, “Al­ways be fearless. Stand up for your­self,” said McKen­zie, a ju­nior at QACHS, to the stu­dents at Church Hill Ele­men­tary, “Peo­ple will try to knock you down and be mean to you .... Be nice to each other and try to get along; and al­ways report to a teacher or another adult you trust if some­thing is both­er­ing you.”

Stu­dents at CHES prac­tice that daily, said teacher April Quigley, with the CHES motto “Roar” — re­spect, own­er­ship, at­ti­tude and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Cheer­lead­ers led el­e­men­tar y stu­dents in chant­ing, “United we stand! Di­vided we fall! When we come

to­gether — we all stand tall!”

As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent for In­struc­tional Ser­vices and School Im­prove­ment Janet Pauls said this was her first year par­tic­i­pat­ing in the event and it was amaz­ing to see the sup­port of the com­mu­nity, fac­ulty and sup­port staff come to­gether in on united ef­fort.

“If we can unify one day,” said Pauls, “we can unify ev­ery day.”

Be­fore the Mat­a­peake Ele­men­tary and Mid­dle schools had their fly­over pic­ture taken, Dr. Jay Banks, an anti-bul­ly­ing speaker, talked with the mid­dle school­ers. Banks taught the stu­dents to avoid bul­lies, find a friend, report bul­ly­ing and to act con­fi­dent. Banks gave his pre­sen­ta­tion to the en­tire school system through­out the week, go­ing to two schools a day.

At Grasonville El­e­men­tar y School be­fore the af­ter­noon fly­over, stu­dents gath­ered in the cafe­te­ria to watch a video en­ti­tled “By­standers — How to Un­make a Bully, Vol. 2.” The video showed sce­nar­ios where ele­men­tary school stu­dents stood by and watched their friends get bul­lied and did noth­ing. Through­out the 30 minute video, breaks were held and stu­dents talked about each of the sce­nar­ios to learn how to bet­ter han­dle it.

“Cer­tainly that video, that was there re­ally help­ing the kids see not to be a by­stander and to help each other and to treat each other re­spect­fully, which are our ex­pec­ta­tions,” Grasonville El­e­men­tar y School Principal Carol Kamp said. “I think they got the mes­sage.”

At the con­clu­sion of Unity Day 2016, In­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Greg Pilewski said,” This is what our school system is all about, com­ing to­gether in a united way to ben­e­fit all stu­dents. I am so proud of the sup­port our staff and the com­mu­nity give our stu­dents of Queen Anne’s County.”

Mike Davis also contributed to this ar­ti­cle.

HAN­NAH COMBS

Queen Anne’s County Teacher of the Year Ta­mara Forte, cen­ter, with Church Hill Ele­men­tary kin­der­garten stu­dents at Unity Day.

PHOTOS BY HAN­NAH COMBS

Queen Anne’s County Pub­lic Schools In­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Greg Pilewski, cen­ter, and Janet Pauls, As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent for In­struc­tional Ser­vices and School Im­prove­ment par­tic­i­pate in Unity Day ac­tiv­i­ties at Sudlersville Mid­dle School.

The Chick-fil-a cow, Rita’s Ital­ian Ice, Hardee’s Star, Bat­man and Pil­lar of Fair­ness as­sem­ble for Unity Day 2016.

Phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion in­struc­tor April Quigley, left, with stu­dents and Church Hill Ele­men­tary principal Jac­que­line Wilhelm.

Jas­mine S., left, and Marissa H., eighth-graders at Sudlersville Mid­dle, put the ex­cla­ma­tion point in, “United We Stand!” dur­ing Unity Day 2016.

HAN­NAH COMBS

Queen Anne’s County High School cheer­lead­ers lead stu­dents in a Unity Day cheer.

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