Experience shared

By Benalla Ensign

Benalla P-12 College held a special event last Friday to mark the the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.

To make a stand together at Barkly campus the students decided to have a gathering and barbecue where anti-bullying information was handed out.

Students were able to put their own messages on bunting explaining what bullying looked like and felt like to them as well as ideas to make the world a better place.

Students were also given coloured wristbands.

At the Faithfull campus students made badges as well as posters and started the day with pancakes at the breakfast club.

Students Crystal Moore and Brittany Hoile have used this as part of their VCAL Community Services Project.

Kaitlyn Hocking, 18, decided she wanted to share her experiences of bullying with younger students, so was a guest speaker at the Faithfull campus and 5/6 year level hub.

Kaitlyn was heavily affected by the passing of a close friend to suicide because of bullying and wanted to share her experiences and coping strategies to empower young people.

‘‘Two years ago my best friend committed suicide because of bullying. His name was Max Avdyugin,’’ Kaitlyn said.

‘‘I got involved in the National Day of Action against Bullying through the school. I’m already a fundraiser for the initiative, I’ve been a fundraiser since I was 10.

‘‘This was another thing that I just fell in love with and I think it’s such an important issue to discuss and to talk to people to let them know that it’s not okay and it can stop.

‘‘I gave a speech to both the 5/6 campus and the 7/9 campus today about Max and what happened and how it’s affected my life.

‘‘Looking around the room after the speech I could see that lots of kids were affected by it and I think it helped them realise that their words don’t just hurt, but they can really affect someone, as sometimes people don’t understand what they’re doing.’’