Unity Day promotes stand against bullying
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.
Queen Anne’s County Teacher of the Year Tamara Forte, center, with Church Hill Elementary kindergarten students at Unity Day.
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.
Queen Anne’s County High School cheerleaders lead students in a Unity Day cheer.