Joshua Ninth Grade Campus students were treated to one of four anti-bullying and awareness programs Tuesday and today led by students of Joshua High School’s Recognizing and Accepting Diversity In Our Schools program.
RADIOS is in its third year in Joshua, said program coordinator Amber Valles, adding that over the past two years, JHS has tailored the program to fit their needs.
Valles, a special education teacher at NGC, said she enjoys the feedback she gets from the younger students and working with the high school student leaders in the RADIO program.
“I love it,” she said. “As a follow up, sometime before Christmas we do a cyberbullying program, and the RADIOS students come back and have lunch with these kids a couple of times a year.”
Other staff members on hand, including Tonya Gschenell, a JHS secretary, said students open up in ways they wouldn’t normally with other students.
“By the end of this day, they will be pouring their hearts out,” she said. “They will have tears streaming down their faces.”
RADIOS aims to help students say some of the deepest, darkest secrets they hold about being bullied, harassed or teased, Valles said. It also helps students learn more about each other and the personal struggles each of them face each day.
Gschenell said many times, students who are the most popular, well-liked and friendliest come forward with stories that haunt them every day.
Student leaders Angel Rain, a junior, and Adrian Garcia, a sophomore, along with Valles, helped the students prepare for the more emotional part of the program with a series of games and activities that got more personal as the day went on.
They opened the program with a short video on violence and bullycide — when a student commits suicide after being bullied.
“This is everywhere,” Garcia said. “This is bigger than Johnson County.”
Students were then asked to pick partners based on similar backgrounds and share answers on what they would do if they won the lottery and who was the most important person in their life. Later, students were asked deeper questions such as what embarrasses them.
They also had the opportunity to dance with others whom they might normally not hang out with during a typical school day.
“Last year after the program — there had been this girl who was always sitting alone at lunch — and she never sat alone again,” Valles said of program’s impact. “Kids came up to her and asked her to sit with them. It is amazing.”
Each of the students at NGC campus will take part in the program by the end of today, Valles said.