On October 23rd, Chardon Middle School launched its first annual celebration of Unity Day, which was officially established by the PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center in 2006. Participation in Unity Day has grown across the country since its debut in 2006, and Geauga Lyric Theater and CMS joined the cause this year.
The purpose of the national event, implemented each year during October (Bullying Prevention Month), is to raise awareness about the devastating and long-lasting effects of childhood bullying and to make a commitment to prevention.
“Unity Day at CMS was the brainchild of CMS Drama Club Advisor Julie Douglass,” said CMS Principal Timothy Velotta. “The day was coordinated by several staff members and most importantly our wonderful parent volunteers who continue to give generously of their time and treasuries to support these types of learning opportunities for our students.”
The CMS Drama Club performed a special mini musical, Bullies Anonymous, for each grade level of the school on Unity Day. The club members had performed the musical for the public earlier in the month on Geauga Lyric Theater’s stage. As part of those public performances, several CMS student volunteers read essays they had written. Student volunteers in grades 4, 5, 6 and 7 wrote their CARE essays about Compassion, Action, Respect and Empathy, respectively.
Janelle Stuart of the CMS Guidance Department described Bullies Anonymous as a stellar show incorporating the values of kindness, acceptance and inclusion.
“Performing for Unity Day was a wonderful experience,” said Charlotte Jons, 13, an eighth grade student at Chardon High School and a member of the CMS Drama Club. “Our show acknowledged that people have been bullied but shared ways to help. The show was an incredible way to support people through the theatrical arts.”
In order to raise awareness of Unity Day throughout the Chardon community, CMS provided participating retailers with signs and posters, orange ribbons, bookmarks and pencils. On the PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center website, Executive Director Paula Goldberg describes the use of orange as meaningful in that it provides a powerful, visually compelling expression of solidarity.
“Unity Day was an amazing opportunity for students to learn from other students and to reinforce our motto that CMS is Caring, Mindful and Solution-focused,” said Principal Velotta.
In addition to community outreach and both public and in-school performances of Bullies Anonymous by the CMS Drama Club, CMS hosted a Unity Fair on Oct. 23 with a variety of interactive centers for all student involvement. The Unity Fair incorporated a number of takeaway messages for students in order to remind them of the lessons learned throughout the show, and it also provided an opportunity for students to collaboratively create artwork that is now displayed throughout their school as a reminder of their commitment to bullying prevention.
Pictured In Cover Photo: Chardon Middle School seventh-grade students, (l to r) Connor Mosher, Vincent Piotrkowski, Jack Perry, Bobby Silk and Anthony Baioni, excitedly display their personalized bullying prevention messages created during the school’s October 23rd celebration of Unity Day, which included an interactive Unity Fair.