Pink Shirt Day packs powerful message in Castlegar
Hundreds of Castlegar students, teachers, business owners and community members joined tens of thousands of others across Canada to support Pink Shirt Day Wednesday, Feb. 27.
The national day of action against bullying began as a protest after an incident at a Nova Scotia high school.
Bud Gregory's leadership class from Stanley Humphries Secondary School joined with a Grade 2 class from Castlegar Primary and a Grade 6 class from Twin Rivers Elementary to organize a flash mob dance [VIDEO].
"The purpose is to create a sense of awareness for bullying because it exists in our community," Gregory said. "We're taking a stand and saying it won't be tolerated here. Reinforcing community spirit is kind of a neat thing."
Castlegar Primary principal Kere MacGregor and Twin Rivers teacher Renie Evdokimoff helped organize the day's events, while 16-year-olds Alyssa Martin, Hailey Gardner and Danielle DeGit joined 17-year-olds Leeza Perehudoff and Kailynn D'Onofrio in leading the flash mob.
'I think it connects the three schools," said Perehudoff. "It was great to see all the kids join in."
The group practiced choreographing moves to the tune of Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammar for more than a week, making stops at all three Castlegar schools. At Twin RIvers, the first stop of the day, everyone from the principal, to teachers and staff joined in on the fun.
Twin Rivers Principal Doug Hickey spoke to students before the flash mob in the gymnasium, giving them full credit for what he said has been a big drop in bullying at the school.
"It's all about respect," Hickey said. "Respect for others and their property, too. It's important to talk to someone, even if it isn''t me."
He also credited weekly assemblies of all students in nurturing better communication and pride in the school.
Hickey drew student names and gave out pink shirts to a number of children including grade 3 student Matthew Skinner who said he was really happy to have it.
"I get way less calls about bullying and make way less calls to maintenance to fix things," Hickey said.
At the Benson Oil Plus gas station on Columbia Ave. assistant manager Alex Condy and attendant tiffany Bird were also sporting bright pink anti-bullying T-shirts. The sign at the road, reading "we sell fishing bait," was also in bright pink.
Visitors to Castlegar City Hall were also greeted by staff decked out in pink in support of the anti-bullying message.