Students at Hammarskjold and Dennis Franklin Cromarty high schools were recognized Wednesday for their effort spreading the message of the city’s Respect program to their peers.
Both schools were awarded cheques for $1,125 for anti-bullying videos produced as class projects, their slogans combined as the program’s youth phase is rolled out.
Show some respect – be the change is the message going forward.
Ashleigh Quarrell, a member of Leadership Thunder Bay’s class of 2013, said her group quickly seized the Respect campaign as a message that was applicable to everyone and looked for ways to expand it. Students seemed like the optimal choice.
“When they’re young is a good time to get to them, before they’re into their own actions and belief systems,” Quarrell said. “Their beliefs are there, but you have a little better ability to mould them a little better.
“Having (the message) come from them, we thought was really important. The message is from them so it has that much more impact as a result of the fact that we’re not just telling them to respect but their peers are.”
Tom Walters, a member of the Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council, said the original respect campaign is how people treat each other and developing the kind of community everyone wants.
Given the make-up of Thunder Bay, the earlier the message hits home, the better, he said.
“We have a very diverse community, a changing community and we all have to work together to make it a better place.”
The videos, which were filmed and written by local students, show examples of bullying that happens every day in the city.
In each film fellow students go out of their way to put bullies in their place, showing support to the victim.
Quarrell said it wasn’t easy to choose between the two, hence the tie.
“The videos were incredible. We had two wonderful submissions and those kids got it right from Day 1,” she said. “They’re already advocating for this important message. To pick between them was almost impossible. We felt they were both winners. And in the spirit of respect we thought we could combine the two and collaborate to come up with the slogan.”
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