A SPECIAL awards ceremony for pupils who recently took part in a creative ‘Everybody is Somebody’ competition has been held at Titanic Belfast.
The competition was part of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, with one Dungannon student picking up one of the awards.
12 year-old Lauren Kyle from Integrated College Dungannon was named runner-up in the intermediate category of the creative writing competition.
This year’s contest urged children and young people to submit art or creative writing entries using the theme of ‘Everybody is Somebody’.
This may relate to homophobic, disablist, sectarian or racist bullying.
Ultimately, if a person is perceived as being different to their peers, this can on occasion lead to an individual experiencing bullying.
“For the last number of years we have held a creative competition based on the Anti-Bullying Week theme,” said
Lee Kane, NIABF’s Regional Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator.
“The competition provides a really useful channel for teachers to explore issues associated with bullying whilst encouraging young people to consider the serious implications which such behaviour can have on others.
“This year, we received over 1200 entries from schools and youth groups across Northern Ireland.
“It has been an extremely difficult judging process, especially as it was very clear that young people had given a great deal of thought to the wide reaching effects of bullying and this is very encouraging,” said Lee.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in the competition and congratulate all of today’s competition winners.”
The list of winners, and a selection of other outstanding entries, are available to view on the NIABF website- www.endbullying.org.uk.
Congratulating Lauren and the other pupils who were awarded prizes for their entries at the launch, Education Minister John O’Dowd said:“The volume of entries to this competition shows that our young people feel strongly that bullying is an important issue.
“Bullying is damaging to individuals and to their education and I encourage schools and pupils to work together to eradicate bullying.
“I want children and young people to tell us how to help them,” he said.
“Partnerships like the Anti-Bullying Forum enable children to do this and ensure we find the best solutions to this problem.”
This year’s Anti-Bullying Week is once again supported by Translink. Anti-bullying messages will be disseminated to the public through poster displays at train and bus stations across Northern Ireland.
Ursula Kelleher, Translink, added: “There has been an overwhelming response from schools and youth groups to this year’s Anti-Bullying Week ensuring that thousands of young people are informed about the serious issue of bullying and how to tackle it effectively.
“By embracing diversity and respecting people’s differences, we are helping to build a happier, more rewarding school experience and providing young people with important life skills.”
Competition winners and runners-up were presented with a goody bag, including shopping vouchers and a framed certificate. A range of the competition entries will also be displayed in venues across NI in the coming weeks and displayed on the NI Anti-Bullying Forum website www.endbullying.org.uk