An estimated 400 Gorton students had a couple of reasons to be happy yesterday.
For starters, the night before, the School Committee acted to keep the school open for at least another year. And then there was the prospect of putting aside classroom work for about 90 minutes and enjoying a spring morning for a good cause.
This was the third annual anti-bullying walk that starts at the school, goes down Draper Avenue and then over to Sandy Lane before ending at the Meadowbrook Stop & Shop.
At the market the students and faculty get a brief rest and free water bottles from the market before heading back to school and classrooms.
“The students and parents are thrilled Gorton is staying open for another year,” said teacher Sue Thomas, who organized the walk and has promoted anti-bullying at the school.
With a police escort, students and teachers paraded down the streets representing the color blue, which Thomas said is “universally known for anti-bullying.”
As they walked, passing cars honked in support. A song that reminded students of this walk was, “Some Nights” by Fun. Thomas mentioned this song was a “team song.”
Thomas not only came up with the idea for the walk, but how to literally link it to anti-bullying. She and students created a giant paper chain with each link recording a kindness a student has done for a person or a kind act that was done to them. The message could be as simple as picking up a pencil for someone or holding the door for someone. There were 1,442 links to the chain that students carried throughout the walk.
Victoria Frazier, eighth grade student, said, “I like the idea of going on a walk against bullying.”
This walk was also to remember Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first student killed in the 1999 Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colo.
Thomas said Rachel’s philosophy, “I have this theory that if one person will go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same,” is what the chain symbolizes.
Thomas said, “We are trying to keep Rachel’s message alive in our school. Incorporating her five challenges: look for the best in others, treat others the way you want to be treated, choose positive influences, speak words of kindness, and forgive yourself and others. We want our students to do these things and take it out to the world.”
Students proudly carried signs with Rachel’s message on them along with a picture of her.
Eighth grader Katelyn Greenwood said, “Everyone gets excited to coordinate their outfits. The walk for anti-bullying is a good thing. I feel like it helps a lot of people.”