by Cheryl Senn
The Sanger High School campus was taken over by the color orange and a flash mob dance performance last month as a way to declare an end to bullying, during its first Unity Day event, held in the quad area of the school campus, during the lunch break.
The idea for hosting a Unity Day event came from Monica Pruneda, director of the high school Apache Closet Club, while she was building the school’s anti-bullying website. Pruneda said she came across the National Bullying Prevention website which declared October 10 as Unity Day.
Pruneda discussed the idea of hosting a Unity Day event with her Apache Closet Club members. “The students and I wanted to go for it,” said Pruneda.
The Apache Closet spearheaded the event with help from the high school campus’ Link Crew, student government, and Gay/Straight Alliance club members.
Pruneda stated that bullying does happen on the high school campus but it is hard for staff to see it. “I think it is hidden out there. But I have seen with the kids, during workshops I’ve had before, that they talk about there being bullying.”
During the lunch event, informational presentations took place. Students could make and sign a pledge to be kind and also place their orange handprint on a banner which stated, “Sanger High Students Support The National Anti-Bullying Day. We choose to be kind.” Students could choose to have their hair painted orange too.
According to the anti-bullying website, by wearing the color orange students show those being bullied that they are not alone, that they care about those being bullied and they want to lead the movement against bullying.
Angela Vang, Kyle Lee and Debbie Vue made the pledge to be kind and also placed their handprints on the anti-bullying banner.
Vang, Lee and Vue said they thought the Unity Day event was important because it would get the word out about bullying, and they thought students would stop and think about what they were doing before bullying someone.
Students did say bullying exists on the high school campus and they have been bullied. Some students would discuss bullying incidents with their parents while others kept the bullying incidents to themselves because they were embarrassed to tell anyone.
Apache Closet students donned orange shirts and anti-bullying themed costumes and danced to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” The Apache Closet students were joined by other students in a flash mob synchronized dance routine made up of 80 students in all.
Pruneda was hopeful the event would make students more aware of cyber-bullying too. “That is increasing a lot with Facebook, Twitter pages and it is awful…what I found, when I was doing my research for the website, this generation is crazy with pictures, etc.”
The Unity Day slogan is “Join the movement to make it orange and make it end. If you are being bullied, you are not alone. Unite and be a champion against bullying.”
Pruneda said the event was a success and plans on hosting another event next year. She and her club members plan on making next year’s event even bigger. Making sure Sanger High parents and the community are aware of the bullying problem in the district is important to Pruneda and her Apache Closet Club members, who also want the community to know they are finding solutions.
The Apache Closet Club is a group of student volunteers who organize events to benefit the students who attend the high school and those in the surrounding community. Apache Closet hosts fashion shows and a Christmas clothing and toy giveaway each year as well.
Pruneda’s advice for students is, “Stay safe out there and think before you post.”
Watch KRL for more Sanger related articles by Cheryl!