Last Thursday a group of O'Donnell Middle School students who took a stand against bullying through art were honored at the Stoughton Public Library.
Last spring about three-quarters of the seventh grade in Karen O'Connell and John Dorion's art classes made anti-bullying posters. Eighteen of the posters were recognized for their excellence, receiving first, second and third place designations as well as honorable mentions.
The posters have been on display in the upstairs gallery at the Stoughton Public Library since August, and will continue to hang throughout the month of October, which is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.
Library Director Pat Basler said the impact of this anti-bullying art display was seen by hundreds of children over the course of the summer during the Library's Summer Reading Program.
The students, now in eighth grade, chose a variety of themes to convey the anti-bullying message. Some posters depicted the pain associated with bullying; some dealt with different forms of bullying, like verbal, texting, or internet-based; while others dealt with the idea that it is important to speak up when you see someone else being bullied.
Meghan Eosco's first-place poster (photo 3 in the media gallery) is based on the theme "take a walk in their shoes." The idea behind her poster came from a movie she watched about Ruby Bridges in Julie Linehan's sixth grade class. The words on the poster come from a song Stoughton's Lori McKenna wrote about Ruby Bridges, Eosco said.
Alyssa Allen's first place poster (photo 4) deals with stomping out bullying. The poster has a boot with a peace sign on it stomping out hurtful words.
"You should really think about what you say before you say it," she said.
Alex Barros, an honorable mention winner, centered his poster (photo 10) around "be the bigger man, take a stand."
"The message is for bystanders to help out if someone is being bullied," he said.
It's a similar message portrayed in honorable mention winner Nick Corrigan's poster (photo 11) - "take a stand, lend a hand, be a friend."
Second place winner Samantha Beaudette's poster (photo 6) dealt with bullying through text messaging with the theme "some bruises are on the inside."
Zaria Durant's poster (photo 9), a third place winner, dealt with the importance of speaking up if you are the one who is bullied.
"Kids shouldn't hide from [their] problems. You can always get help," she said.
O'Connell was impressed with the quality of the work and how the students interpreted the various themes.
"No one understands bullying like the kids," she said.
- First Place winners: Alyssa Allen, Nia Brewster and Meghan Eosco.
- Second Place winners: Kayla Andrade, Colleen LeBlanc, Stephanie Roberts, and Samantha Beaudette.
- Third Place winners: Kayla Oliveira, Zaria Durant, and Tesla Kalinowski.
- Honorable Mention: Maria Yaitanes, Megan Reid, Nyesha Johnson, Nick Corrigan, Alex Barros, Megan Connor, Lauren Sears, Hannah Araujo, and Stephanie Ortiz.