Article By Rebecca Dorman, Year 13 pupil Photographs by Cherry Chan, Year 12 pupil
From Monday 22nd November to Friday 3rd December, pupils from across the year groups partook in events to celebrate World Kindness and make a stand against bullying. The week began with assemblies from Mr Hooks and several prefects on the importance of kindness and the potential in each of us to do good for others in our community. Afterwards, students in KS3 participated in various events in their respective form classes. One activity which was particularly popular involved assigning each person a piece of paper and writing compliments on the pages of others. If they so desired, pupils could also send sweets and letters to their classmates.
On Friday 26th, teachers were given a well-earned break and were gifted with a spread of tea, coffee, and biscuits in the assembly hall. Other baked goods were available to sixth formers in the common room between 10:20 and 10:35.
To brighten up the school and ensure the sentiment of kindness remained intact after the free food ran out, the upper sixth crafted three handmade boards to hang up in the main boy’s locker room. Small, circular pieces of wood were carefully decorated and surround the message ‘In a World Where You Can Be Anything, Be Kind.’ Posters with inspirational quotes have also been attached to notice boards around the school in the hopes of brightening the spirits of others during the long, dark winter.
The following Wednesday, year eight started work on the Christmas Campaign to reach out to care home residents over the holiday season. Equipped with coloured cards, glitter, stickers, and ribbons, pupils set to work on producing Christmas cards for those who may feel isolated at this time of year. Each card is unique and sure to bring a smile to the faces of their recipients.
At last, the 3rd of December arrived. It was time to suit up and partner with the Anti-Bullying Alliance for the iconic Odd Socks Day. Established to encourage young people to express themselves and celebrate their individuality, Odd Socks Day gives a voice to those who have been ostracised for who they are. In Northern Ireland alone, 50% of children aged between 11 and 16 experience bullying on a daily basis. Their abuse often continues after the final bell and seeps into their homes. As they log online, many young people will be victims of cyberbullying: either from their peers or complete strangers. With rates of teen depression on the rise, it is more important now than ever before that we take action and raise awareness of this heinous abuse. Along with the acknowledgement of Odd Socks Day, RSA provides information regarding the ‘Minding Your Head’ scheme and ChildLine. If you or someone you know wishes to seek help regarding bullying and/or mental health, please do not hesitate to contact these services or tell an adult that you trust.
While the past two weeks have been fairly hectic, important steps have been taken in the right direction concerning our awareness on the importance of kindness in the school community. Facing the facts on the consequences of our actions calls upon a need to reflect and evaluate exactly how we treat our fellow human beings. Until we scare off bullying for good, just be compassionate towards each other and remember to bring the occasional chocolate cake for your classmates (free of charge). Thank you all for your hard work over the last two weeks and Merry Christmas!