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Motivational Speaker Hank Smith Highlights South Jordan Elementary Purple Ribbon Week

Apr 07, 2016 04:53PM ● Published by Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com

South Jordan - Munching on potato chips may seem like a strange method to make students aware of bullying issues, but it is one that South Jordan Elementary students understood.

During the presentation by motivational speaker and BYU professor Hank Smith, he told students not to be bystanders, but rather upstanders in making a difference. The illustration he uses is “don’t crush my chips.”

The presentation was followed by a class discussion about what it means to “don’t crush my chips” while munching on potato chips, Purple Week organizer Jessica Harris said.

“We want students to unite and realize that words can have an impact and while they may not be hitting someone, words can crush them and bully them,” she said.

Purple Ribbon Week, or bullying awareness week, came about after Harris talked to Principal Ken Westwood about bullying at the school.

“Every school has a bullying issue so we’re not alone,” Westwood said. “It’s not any worse than any other school, but any time there’s an issue, it needs to be addressed.”

Harris said that being proactive comes about with education.

“We don’t have a problem with beating up here, but we do have a bullying problem when someone is left out or being called names. Many kids aren’t even aware of what a bully is,” she said.

After a faculty survey resulted in an overwhelming majority of teachers supporting the awareness campaign, the annual event began four years ago with one day full of activities. Then it was extended and included safety awareness. Now, it is its own event held over three days twice during the spring, so all tracks can participate.

Smith addressed students March 21 and is scheduled to repeat his address in later March.

“We hope that students learn to be an upstander by speaking up about bullying issues, not leaving someone left out of activities and finding the courage and confidence to let people know. Students can pay a compliment and include their peers in activities,” Harris said.

Other presentations on March 21 included showing the video by rapper MattyB and singer Olivia Kay’s rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”

“It shows a girl with Down syndrome getting bullied. We want the kids to know that by showing kindness, they can make a difference in someone’s life,” Harris said.

The theme of the first day was “It’s Up to You To Show Your True Colors,” and students are encouraged to wear colorful socks and crazy hair. During lunch, students will make handprint pledges on a kindness banner.

The theme of the third day, March 23, was “It’s Up to You to Show Kindness.” There was a kindness Easter egg hunt, where paper eggs were hidden throughout the school.

When an egg was found, there was a kindness task written on it and students completed the activity. Afterward, students wrote their name on a slip of paper and turned it in for the end-of-day drawing.

“The task might be to invite a friend to play, give someone a compliment, smile and show they care. We want students to become more aware of other people’s feelings and differences,” she said.

Students were also encouraged to wear a hat and were told, “Don’t be an egghead; show someone you care.”

“Kids don’t always show they care about one another. They don’t think about others because they are so self-conscious. Just by doing something simple, can brighten someone’s day,” Harris said.  

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