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Students Celebrate Unity Day by Wearing Orange

Students Celebrate Unity Day by Wearing Orange

Students at Shirley Hills celebrated Unity Day by posing in the shape of a heart to signify a united front against bullying.

Click on the above image for more photos of Unity Day by Westonka staff

October 24, 2019 — Students across the Westonka School District stood up to bullying on Oct. 23 by wearing orange to celebrate Unity Day, a movement designed to bring everyone together to stand against bullying and be united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Each school conducted activities throughout the month of October aimed at spreading kindness, promoting unity and combating bullying.

​Grandview Middle School students talked about being an “upstander” rather than a “bystander” and being a friend to someone who needs it, instead of sitting by and watching. Students pledged to be an upstander, by helping to stand up for others, doing what’s right and acting to make a positive change. They celebrated Unity Day by wearing orange and participating in anti-bullying lessons.

Hilltop Primary School promoted unity and kindness throughout the month of October. Month-long activities taught students about the power of kindness, inclusion and not being a bystander to bullying behavior. Students wore orange and participated in a variety of activities in their classrooms to celebrate their day.

Students at Shirley Hills Primary School took part in a week-long series of bully prevention classes, where Principal Scott Eidsness and Positive Community Coordinator Scott Lhotka taught each grade level lessons from Second Step. The classes focused on recognizing bullying when they see it or experience it; Stop, Walk, Talk (anti-bullying techniques); and bully prevention. Students wore orange for Unity Day and gathered on the hill in the shape of a heart to symbolize a united front in preventing bullying.

Students at Mound Westonka High School celebrated “Be the Change” week, an event which the Student Senate started at MWHS a few years ago. Because the message of “Be the Change” week is aimed at creating positive changes and a school culture that is inclusive and accepting, it is very fitting to have the middle of the week be Unity Day, according to Advisor Jamie Harms.

“Be the Change” week is centered on showing encouragement and compassion to classmates, friends and staff. It is about encouraging students to be living examples of how simple acts can make a difference every day.

Along with wearing orange on Unity Day, Student Senate sponsored a school-wide activity called "Linking MWHS Together.” During homerooms students and staff were encouraged to participate in creating link chains to help create awareness of the meaning of “Be the Change” week. These chains got students thinking and talking about kindness, acceptance and inclusion at MWHS, and how these things affect the school climate. All the chains were linked together to create one long chain of positivity that was hung up around the school.

Student Senate also tie-dyed orange shirts for Unity Day. They sent a message of unity by having all 30 members and both advisors wear the same orange shirts. They also used this platform to take a stand for Project Semicolon. Within the belief that suicide is generally preventable, the mission of Project Semicolon is to help reduce suicide through a connected community and greater access to information and resources. Senate used the platform to show their unity as a group that stands for acceptance, community, unity, inclusion and support for all at MWHS. The orange tie-dyed shirts were also shared with students in the Transitional Plus program.

Unity Day was created by the PACER organization. More information can be found at www.pacer.org/bullying/.