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Stanislaus State athletes, elementary students join forces against bullying
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Wakefield Elementary School students surround Stanislaus State baseball player Nathaniel Chunn as he teaches them how to successfully behave in a bullying situation.

With October as National Bullying Prevention Month, Wakefield Elementary School wildcats and Stanislaus State warriors teamed up to combat bullies by learning to stick up for friends or themselves, and to be kind.  

To do this, over 30 Stanislaus State athletes from every sport and Titus the mascot visited the elementary school on Thursday to host an informative and entertaining bullying prevention assembly for students.

 “I learned to treat others like you want to be treated and to not be bullies,” said fifth grader Diego Carmona.

“They taught me not to tease people,” said fourth grader Gabriela Mejia.

Associate Athletic Director Kim Duyst said that she felt it was important for student athletes to be positive role models and be engaged in the community, so she proposed the assembly idea to Office of Student Services Director Gil Ogden.

“Our goal was to make it meaningful, but fun,” said Duyst. “I think it is very important for our athletes to be involved in community service, especially in the school district to send the message that is important for everyone in the community to work together to send a unified message against bullying and to establish a school culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect.”

“The elementary students were very interactive and responded very well to the assembly. Our student athletes did an outstanding job presenting and interacting with the students and have had a great time doing it,” continued Duyst.

During the assembly, student athletes helped students identify different types of bullying. Students were told that bullying can take many forms, including physically hurting someone, hurting someone’s feelings by saying something that wasn’t nice and even bullying online.

“This can happen on Facebook, over text messages, Instagram, or using any other form of technology,” said volleyball player Blair Ehrlich.

Student athletes acted out a number of bully situations, such as stealing someone’s lunch money, making fun of someone’s hair, and sending an insulting text message to a teammate, and afterwards asked students what they should do in each bullying scenario.

“You can tell your school principal, you can tell your teacher, you can tell your parents, you can tell any type of adult that can help you,” said soccer player Chelsea Lewandowski.

The student athletes also talked to the students about why people choose to bully others.

“People that bully may think that making fun of others is funny, or will make them have more friends,” said Lewandowski. “They may also be having problems at home or trying to copy what other friends are doing.”

In addition to Wakefield Elementary, Stanislaus State athletes also presented the bullying prevention assembly at Crowell Elementary School and Cunningham Elementary School. They have plans to go Brown Elementary School next week.

“We plan on doing events like this in the future and would be open to presenting this to other elementary schools if requested and time permits,” said Duyst.