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Petzel: Simmons students stand up to bullying

Updated: February 21, 2013 6:13AM



Greetings fellow Oak Lawnians!

Simmons Middle School students recently completed an anti-bullying project and are getting the word out and taking a stand against bullying.

Melissa Small, a seventh-grade teacher at Simmons, credits fellow teacher Marni Dasbach with coming up with the project idea. The school hosts a daily session called “Simmons Sessions,” which focuses on reading strategy and character education. A recurring topic during these sessions is bullying.

“We have bullying lessons every month,” Small said.

It was during one of these sessions that Dasbach came across a foundation called Stand for the Silent at www.standforthesilent.org. The organization was started in 2010 in honor of Ty Field-Smalley, who, at just 11 years old, committed suicide after being suspended for retaliating against a bully who tormented him for over two years.

“We shared Ty’s story with the students, and they were so moved,” Small said. “They wanted to take a stand for people who can’t speak for themselves.”

Students decided to create a video.

“About 45 students worked on the project,” Small said. “Students worked on the project during school during their character education sessions. They sort of took it step by step and worked on it every day even if they only had a few minutes.

“It took about a month to come up with all the ideas and different segments to piece together.”

The outcome of the students’ efforts was a 6½-minute video using no dialogue; just the students holding anti-bullying signs and featuring two songs, “True Colors” (the Glee version) and “Lean on Me.”

“The video’s in the final stages, but we’re still pulling it together and it should be ready within the next week,” Small said.

Students who worked on the video are just 12 and 13 years old.

“I was very proud and impressed with how mature and motivated the students were,” Small said. “They wanted to share with their classmates that how you treat, act and what you say has an effect on others.”

When the video was finished, Small said students “were really happy and pleased with themselves. They showed the video to the whole school to see and shared Ty’s story with the other students. They’re really proud of themselves.”

Congratulations to Simmons Middle School students and their teachers for getting the word out on such an important message!

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Happy third birthday to Jackson Patterson. Happy seventh birthday to Neo Martin, from his parents, Carla and Erik, Rocky and family. Belated birthday wishes go out to Julia LeCompte, who’s turning 8, from her parents, brother, Jack and grandma and grandpa LeCompte. Birthday wishes also go out to Julia’s dad, Joe LeCompte.

Steve and Yolanda Sawicki wish their son, Sterling, a happy ninth birthday. Happy 11th birthday to Abigail Harris, from her parents and Paul, Emily, Kate, Hanna, Charlie and Cinnamon. Happy 11th birthday to Olivia Pasinski, from her parents, Kim and Bernie, and grandparents, Audrey and Joe Nowak.

Antoinette Cataldo wishes her great nephew, Anthony McFee, a happy 12th birthday. Happy 12th birthday to Zach Zobak, from his parents, Tom and Karen, and brother, Max. Happy 13th birthday to Danny Smith, from his grandma and grandpa Wills.

Mary and Dan Gallagher wish their son, Kevin, a happy 14th birthday. Happy 17th birthday to Kevin Biondic, from his parents, Mary and Matt, and Sean, Barry, Ryan, Fiona and family. John and Sharon Peterson wish their son, Nolan, a happy 19th birthday.

Happy 20th birthday to Brittany Raddatz from her mom, Julie. Happy 20th birthday to Nicole Magawa, from her parents, Mike and Chewy. Rita and Ken Bringe send birthday wishes to their daughter, Katie, who’s turning 19; their son, Kenji, who’s turning 23; and to Tohru Kobayashi, who’s turning 28.

Happy birthday to Rita Bringe from her husband, Ken. Happy 23rd birthday to Kerry McInerney, from his mom, Mary Sue, Danny, Spike, Lizzy and family. Martin Polak’s parents wish him a happy 27th birthday.

Happy 34th birthday to Bob Galassi, from his mom, Susan. Happy 35th birthday to Jennifer Lopez, from her parents, Lisa and Jose, and Monica. Birthday wishes go out to Terry Simon from her husband, Jim, Wendy and Misty.

Betty Kastros’ family wishes her a happy birthday. Happy birthday to Kathy Gornik, from her family and Solo. Happy birthday to Katie Siple, from her son, Mark, Sharon and grandson, Zachary. Birthday wishes go out to Cheryn Swallow from her husband, Bob, and family.

Wedding anniversary wishes go out to Russel and Clare Markle on their 68th anniversary.

Keep your fellow Oak Lawnians informed about birthdays, special events or special “stuff” going on with your family or within the community. Call me at (708) 899-9544.

Until next time ...



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