Rachel Belvin teaching at LSHS.
Bullying and its affect on kids has been a major source of news over the past several months, many news shows have produced lengthy documentaries in regards to this subject.
At Lake Stevens High School, Rachel Belvin, a junior and member of FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) had to come up with a topic for her STAR (Students Taking Action and Recognition) project.
Belvin chose bullying.
“A couple of years ago I’d seen on Oprah, a kid who had killed himself because of bullying,” Belvin explained. “I thought it was important to bring it to our school before something like this happens.”
FCCLA has a program entitled, ‘Stop the Violence’. Belvin decided to focus in on bullying violence and then take what she learned into the classrooms at the school.
“I chose ‘Stop the Bullying’ with the hope of empowering students with attitudes and skills,” she explained. “The FCCLA criteria is to create a program at your school or do something that has to do with that program.”
After months of research and surveys at Lake Stevens High School, Belvin put her data together and made her way into the classrooms of the sophomores at the school.
“I focused on sophomores in their Global Studies classes. I talked to them about bullying, activities, stats, did a survey with the sophomore class which was around 500 students,” she said.
Belvin, herself, was surprised at the results of the survey which show that 40 percent of sophomores had been bullied at middle school and 30 percent had been bullied at LSHS.
She also found out that around 20 percent of the kids had bullied someone since entering high school.
“I defined bullying overall as a student being attacked, made fun of in the form of a joke or comment that hurts somebody to actually physically hurting somebody,” Belvin explained.
After teaching her course to the sophomores Belvin received kudos and thanks from kids who had heard her speak and present her findings.
“One girl came up to me and said thank you for coming to our class. I think she was really personally impacted,” she explained. “I think the kids really enjoyed it.”
While all of this was done for a state competition, Belvin has found that she has learned much and wants to take her program to North Lake Middle School.
“We are going to try and take a group of high school students who have been bullied and take them to NLMS. They can talk to students who want to talk to someone who has been through it,” Belvin said. “We’re hoping we can get it to stop before it gets to the high school.”
Her project has not only been accepted by her fellow students, but she also received a score of 100 out of 100 at the state competition in Wenatchee last month. Because of her success, she is now heading to Anaheim, Calif. in July to compete nationally.
“The most rewarding part is working with students and reaching out to peers. That was the most rewarding part of the program., Belvin said.