MOUNT UNIACKE: Nov. 1 will easily go down as the best day of school in Madeline Neary’s young life.

Neary won a contest through the Family Channel that would see it bring its Stand Up! rally to her school, Uniacke District School. Uniacke District was one of three schools across Canada that won thanks to Neary’s successful entry.

“I wrote about how the school wears pink to fight bullying and we have a big assembly,” said Neary. “It (bullying) happens, and I find we really try here to not have it take place.”

PHOTOS: Family Channel visits Uniacke District for Stand Up! Rally

VIDEO:Students get pumped at UDS

VIDEO: Alex and Myles get UDS dancing against bullying

Alexandra Chaves and Myles Erlick sit among students at Uniacke District School during their Stand Up! presentation as part of a three-school tour through The Family Channel. The stop at UDS came after student Madeline Neary won the contest. (Healey photo)

The stop was part of the Family Channel’s Bullying Awareness Week, which they co-founded in 2003. Every November Family Channel, along with its partners at PREVNet and Kids Help Phone, initiates a nationwide campaign to promote positive relationships and provide youth with real-life solutions for issues they face.

The campaign encourages viewers to take the Stand Up! message into their communities and find ways to make Bullying Awareness Week last all year long. Music and entertainment is used to promote the Stand UP! message. This year, Family Channel will be creating an original dance video starring The Next Step’s Myles Erlick and Alexandra Chaves.

Neary, 11, in Grade 6 at the school — located in the heart of Mount Uniacke — said the presentation at the school was one she learned something from.

“You can always tell an adult, which is really helpful,” she said.

VIDEO: Students invited to dance with Alex and Myles

VIDEO: Standing Up to bullying at Uniacke District

Madeline in front of her peers with Alex and Myles. (Healey photo)

What was it like to be called up front by Alex and Myles in front of her peers?

“It was crazy,” said Neary. “I was so happy and excited. I was nervous too.”

She is a fan of The Next Step, so to see two of the dancers in person was “very cool.”

Madeline’s mom, Tanya, said her daughter told her of her intent to enter the contest. She agreed and so Madeline did. She never thought anymore about it.

“Three weeks ago the Principal here called me and said that Madeline had won as the Family Channel had contacted her,” said Tanya Neary. “We were so excited.”

Alexandra Chaves and Myles Erlick sit among students at Uniacke District School during their Stand Up! presentation as part of a three-school tour through The Family Channel. The stop at UDS came after student Madeline Neary won the contest. (Healey photo)

She said it was exiting to see the reaction of the children at the school as they listened intently to messages of what they can do to prevent bullying—through speeches; and music. Some lucky students—and at least one teacher— were picked by Alex and Myles to come up and dance with them at the front.

Uniacke District School student Hayley Wilson gets a big hug from Alexandra Chaves from The Next Step during the Stand Up! rally at the school on Nov. 1. Hayley said she is a big fan of Alex and dance partner Myles Erlick. (Healey photo)

Tanya said if there’s one thing that she is taking away from the day is that one person really can make a difference.

“It goes to show that just one person, and the same thing goes with bullying if they stand up, they can make a difference,” said Tanya. “I think it was a wonderful thing for the school.”

Myles Erlick flies through the air at UDS. (Healey photo)

Vice Principal Joy King agreed.

“It was such a community-building event. It brought so many students together,” she said.

“When you have P-9 in the school it’s often hard to bring an event that reaches everybody.

“The whole community was a buzz with what was happening. The kids were on Cloud Nine. The energy level is sky high.

“It’s so nice to see the students patting each other, giving high-fives, and some hanging with one another in groups that may not have been together.”

Jump for it! (Healey photo)
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Patrick Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!