Students and staff members at Rayford Intermediate School recently celebrated their differences. For this year’s “Make a Difference” project, the campus raised awareness about bullying.
Teachers encouraged students to celebrate their differences and what makes them unique. And they motivated students to take a stand against hurtful stereotypes.
Every activity focused on bully awareness and cultural appreciation.
LeAnnda Ashley and Tanisha Jones organized the activities. Both Ashley and Jones serve as counselors at the campus.
“This was a great opportunity to raise bullying awareness,” said Ashley. “We wanted students to understand that assumptions can lead to stereotypes. And that prejudices can lead to unfair judgments about individuals and groups. They learned how stereotypes and biases affect our lives and interactions with people. And they learned the importance of sensitivity when interacting with others.”
Students participated in several activities. For instance, the campus obtained students’ input about how to create safer schools. Students discussed differences between groups and talked about stereotypes. Some even took part in an art contest. Students also used music to foster a culture of peace. Families also had an opportunity to get involved. The campus held an after-school event for friends and family.
Students also got to meet Vin Zeal, a local artist in Houston. Zeal has teamed up with various schools on a campaign to encourage students and prevent bullying though her music. She performed a few of her songs and held a Q&A session with the students.
“The students enjoyed meeting Vin Zeal,” said Ashley. “She encouraged students to create bully awareness posters. And she advised them to tell an adult if they experience or witness bullying.”
Ashley added she and Jones felt strongly about the project. Both felt that forming positive relationships with others begins early in a child’s development.
Vin Zeal (back row in black t-shirt) poses with some students.