North Gresham students celebrate anti-bullying week

Students at North Gresham Elementary School kicked off their Wednesday morning singing and signing to an adaption of “YMCA.”

“We have pride in our work, we have fun when we play, we love learning in every way!” they sang, shortly before learning the entire school had won a party for tip-top behavior.

The energy burst in their weekly assembly as fourth- and fifth-grade choir students pulled off their jackets, revealing hot pink “Stand Up Together” T-shirts and matching pom-poms.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: KRIS ANDERSON - Choir students at North Gresham Elementary School surprise the rest of the school with a flash mob to Katy Perry's 'Firework' song.

The students broke into a flash mob, singing and dancing throughout the cafeteria to Katy Perry’s “Firework” and kicking off a weeklong anti-bullying event called “Stand up Together.”

After living in Canada, where the last Wednesday of February is focused on anti-bullying in schools, a parent and volunteer, Denise McCloud, helped introduce the Stand Up Together program at North Gresham.

Older students helped lead the kickoff assembly, with fourth-grader Salamasina Napoleon challenging the school to higher standards.

“This school is great, but we can do better,” she said. “That’s why we’re having this acceptance week.”

“Stand Up Together” is intended to teach students acceptance and stop bullying behaviors. During the week, students will celebrate Dr. Seuss Day; design a mural; and learn about the Peter, Paul and Mary song, “Don’t Laugh At Me.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: KRIS ANDERSON - North Gresham students are participating in a week of anti-bullying activities. They kicked the week off with a high-spirited assembly.

The event will conclude with a singalong assembly on Wednesday, March 6, with accompaniment by Cherie Carstensen, the music teacher, and Tom Klansnic, principal.

After the flashmob Wednesday, fourth- and fifth-grade students spoke about why the week was important.

“People need to stop bullying because it makes you feel like you’re locked in a cage and can’t get out,” said fifth-grader Madison Shewbert.

Fourth-grader Hannah Anderson described how she had been teased as the smallest person in her class. She challenged fellow students to care for each other.

“Repeat after me,” Hannah said, as students lifted up signs. “Stand. Up. Together.”

Students clasped hands and cheered, concluding the kickoff to the “Stand Up Together” week.

“Nobody should be treated badly,” said Juliette Fleurimond, a fourth-grader. “I think a lot of times bullies were bullied when they were little. If they learn a different way, they can avoid being bullies.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: LISA K. ANDERSON - Students received matching hot pink T-shirts and spelled out stand up for a photo-op Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Each student received the hot pink T-shirt the flashmob donned. In the afternoon, students gathered on the north side of campus for a photo-op to spell out “STAND UP.”

"You should accept everyone for who they are," said Isabella Pobieglo, a fourth-grader. "It’s not about how they look or what’s on the outside. It’s about the good person on the inside."

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