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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”