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November 8, 2012

She's fighting back against bullies

8th grader's award-winning poster shows risks of taunting

Michaela Vick knows all too well how mean some of her classmates can be.

The eighth grader at Whittier Middle School has heard many taunts and insults come her way. But instead of cowering from the barbs, she has decided to take a different approach.

She’s trying to make the bullying stop.

Michaela, 13, entered and won an art contest sponsored by Blueskies Wellness, a bullying prevention agency. She had to submit a poster which answered the question “What does bullying mean to you.’’ The question focused on the impact of bullying on children’s lives.

Michaela had heard about the contest from her art teacher, Bonnie Porter, but it was her own experiences which got her interested in entering the contest.

“I was sick of all the bullying at all the schools and people who have hurt themselves just from bullying,” she said. “I made this drawing to say how bullying can hurt people, but we can all change it.”

The poster shows a girl crying because she has been bullied. On her hand are the words “stop bullying.” Also on the poster is an image of the girl’s friends supporting her. In the middle of the poster are the words “Stand up to bullying, stop bullying today.”

Michaela drew on many of her own experiences with bullies as an inspiration for the poster.

“Somebody always thinks you’re not good enough,” she said. “They talk behind your back and say, ‘Oh she’s not pretty’ or ‘Oh she’s not beautiful.’’’

Despite the hurtful words, Michaela said she hasn’t let bullies damage her morale.

“I wouldn’t let that hurt me because words don’t hurt me,” she said. “You can think what you want to think and I won’t care what you think because I know who I am.”

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