June 9, 2017
ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Boston Red Sox outfielder Brock Holt gives Rumney Marsh Academy School Adjustment Councilor Lisa Gendreau a high-five.
By MATT DEMIRS
REVERE — Students at Rumney Marsh Middle School have been on a mission to create a school without bullying.
Their hard work paid off on Friday when they received the “Boston Vs. Bullies 2017 School of the Year” award.
“There are few schools that stand out for their attitude where kids can safely learn,” said Rusty Sullivan, executive director of the Sports Museum, author of the Boston vs. Bullies program.
The effort is funded by the Highland Street Foundation, a Newton nonprofit whose mission it to help children and families, and New Balance, the Boston athletic footwear company.
After receiving the award, students were surprised by a visit from Boston Red Sox player Brock Holt.
The 28-year-old utility player took questions from students who wondered about the professional player’s life in Major League Baseball and growing up.
“Did you ever get bullied when you were young?” asked one student.
“I was bullied growing up,” Holt said. “But people in my high school stood up and it stopped.”
He told students about the importance of teamwork and having each other’s back, something Holt said is crucial to creating a positive climate.
Holt also talked of cyberbullying and the impact students can have if they work together.
“You guys have the opportunity to change this world,” he said. “And it starts with being good to each other.”
Rumney Marsh students said their school is a positive place, where bullying is almost nonexistent or stopped in it’s tracks.
Hunter Jones, 13, said teachers don’t tolerate bullying.
“The climate we have here makes you feel safe,” he said. “It also creates an environment at the school which welcomes the students coming up from fifth grade.”
Seventh-grader Victor Pelatere, 13, said Lynn has offered programs to help students handle bullying ever since he was in elementary school.
“Schools feels really secure when you know you have teachers and friends to help you,” he said.
Students who have been bullied, like seventh-grader Taylor Walsh, found help talking with her teachers.
She was bullied by girls who were supposed to be her friends at the start of the school year, Walsh said.
While it didn’t make her feel good, Walsh found help in the teaching staff, she said.
“The teachers told me they weren’t worth it and not to feel like I needed to be their friends,” she said. “They explained to me that people will come to me and there are tons of students who will want to be my friends.”
Matt Demirs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org