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Down with bullies: a group of Alberta schools dance up a storm to spread the message against bullying.

Have you ever dreamt of being among the people talked about on a celebrity blog? Well 140 junior high and high school students from Edmonton, Alberta don't have to dream any longer. An inter-school project they worked on together with their teachers and some local politicians was so successful that Perez Hilton blogged about it! This is amazing since his blog is usually reserved for the rich and famous. So, you're probably wondering what they did to get noticed? And the answer is: they danced! They did a flash mob to be exact, in the Kingsway Mall in Edmonton with the main message being: stand up to bullying.

Over 140 students from St. Albert's Catholic Schools participated in the anti-bullying flash mob, choreo-graphed to a song from Glee, called "Loser Like Me." The student dancers ranged in age from 12 to 17 so, not only was it a relevant message but it was amazing to see kids of all ages getting involved.

"We actually had almost too many, we had to cut back on the number of participants at each school," said the choreographer, Kristina Solikowski. When you think about it though, it's not such a bad thing to have too many kids interested in spreading a message against bullies. But how did they manage to do it with so many people involved? Well, Kristina made up all the dance moves and taught them to the forty five students at her school. She then sent a video tape of herself dancing to all the other schools. Once the other teachers had the video of Kristina's dance, they were able to teach the rest of the students everything they needed to know.

"I was just really excited!" said Olivia Brassard, a grade seven student at RS Fowler School. Being one of the younger students to participate, Olivia was a little nervous at the start. "I was a little shy because I had to interact with a lot of grade eights and nines but after, I got more comfortable," said Olivia. And we're glad she got over her nerves! The message got across loud and clear because so many students were willing to get out there and do it. And it takes courage to be able to dance in front of a mall full of people.

The reason that Olivia got involved was partly for the fun of dancing but also because she really believed in the message: that bullies are bad! "I don't think it's going to be possible to stop bullying all together because there's always going to be that one bully that wants attention," explains Olivia. "But I think we can definitely decrease it." And there's no better way to decrease something negative than by getting a bunch of people together to do something positive, right? Allison Wood, a grade ten student at St. Albert Catholic High School, got involved for the same reasons as Olivia. She loves to dance and loves to stand up to bullies too. "I thought it would be a good way to spread notice about the bullying that goes on in our society," said Allison. "I know it's a big thing so I was really eager to spread awareness for it."

Allison is right, bullying is a very big thing. There have been more and more serious stories in the news lately about bullying in North America and how badly it can hurt people - sometimes more than the bully even realizes. That's why ifs important to spread positive messages about people working together rather than against one another. Organizing a dance that over a hundred students could all do in unison is just one amazing thing that can happen when people come together for a positive cause. When you think about that, you wonder why bullying happens at all!

Allison explains her take on why bullying is so bad: "I think that everybody's different and even though they're different, doesn't mean they're not a person." Everybody deserves to feel safe and welcome at school so it's great to see students who believe that too. No one ever really knows exactly why people choose to be mean to others but one of the best ways to put a stop to it is to fill your time and use your energy for positive things with positive people.

Congratulations St Albert's Catholic Schools, you've set an amazing example for kids everywhere. And to everyone else out there, if you feel like you're being bullied, remind yourself to Stand Up!
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Title Annotation:Your World
Publication:Kidsworld Magazine
Geographic Code:1CALB
Date:Mar 22, 2012
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