Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dramatic Change Anti-Bullying Pre-Conference: First Stage’s Bully Ban program

By First Stage Education Director Julia Magnasco

A few weeks ago I was out for dinner with two friends from high school, both of whom I had not seen or been much in contact with since our years in school together.  I can’t say I had a terribly horrible high school experience; I wasn’t overly popular, but I had friends and was very active in student government, the newspaper and other school organizations.  However, I also can’t say I look back on my teen years with unparalleled joy and elation—I, like many high schoolers dealt with my fare share of gossip, teasing, exclusion and rumors.  So after high school, I distanced myself from those people—not because I had some deep-seeded anger against them, but because I knew there were better things out there and I wanted to forget about the hurtful experiences and move on to the next chapter in my life.  Fast forward to 15 years later, as I sat in a restaurant with these two friends catching up with each other’s lives and reminiscing about old times, one of my friends paused and said, “You know, Julia, we were really mean to you.  I’m truly sorry for that.”  This comment took me by complete surprise, but I played it off and responded as if it was no big deal and never really affected me…but it did.  And after dinner, as I got into my car to drive away from the high school memories and back to my current life, I breathed a sigh that melted years of hidden hurt away.   It is so interesting to me when my personal life and my professional life meet. As First Stage’s Education Director, I go into classrooms every week, working with young people to discover how they can make choices that demonstrate kindness and respect towards one another, lessen conflict when it arises, and stand up for what’s right...

CLICK HERE to read more of this blog, originally published as part of the TYA/USA and AATE's Dramatic Change:  An Anti-Bullying Initiative pre-conference program presented for the annual American Alliance for Theater and Education conference this month. 

Check out First Stage's Groupon Grassroots campaign to help end bullying in Milwaukee schools!  CLICK HERE to find out how you can help for as little as $10.

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