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Hosts anti-bullying presentation

By LAURA DUKESStaff writer

Rather than counting down the days until graduation, Calvert High School senior Elizabeth LaGoy chose to end her high school career making a difference.

On Friday, LaGoy, 18, led a program titled “A Braver, Kinder Calvert,” aimed at ending bullying not just at her school, but in the entire community.

The program featured songs, dancing and readings, all done by students and inspired by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, which LaGoy said is aimed at promoting safety, skills and opportunity.

LaGoy said she had the idea to hold the event early in the year when the death of a classmate led to tension and conflict among her peers.

“It was really sad how they acted,” said LaGoy, who said she initially planned a program about “how life is too short and we should be nice.”

Later in the school year, LaGoy said her school’s principal, Susan Johnson, told her about the Born This Way Foundation and LaGoy decided to base her program off of that.

“That was really cool. ... We need this in high school,” LaGoy said.

LaGoy said her school’s guidance counselor Roberta Reeves also helped her coordinate the program.

“The message is so very important and I hope you hear the message from the student participation you see today,” Johnson told the student body prior to the event.

The program started with about 35 students, some of whom were considered special needs, dancing to the Lady Gaga song “Born This Way.”

Freshman Andrea Kelson read her own poem “A Revolution” describing what she sees in high school and what the reaction should be.

“Drama ain’t worth your time and those popular girls aren’t worth a dime,” Kelson read. “ ...I see a lot of mascara running down the outcasts faces and their tormenters are laughing. ... This is the end of an era and the beginning of a revolution.”

“Jokes aren’t always funny,” LaGoy pointed out to her classmates.

She gave the example of someone telling a “your mama” joke to someone whose mom might have died.

LaGoy said everyone has a quality about which someone else can tease them and pointed out her own braces.

“I have braces and I love to smile. If someone took that away from me, I’d be alone and depressed,” she said.

LaGoy asked her classmates to raise their hands if they ever called or have been called names like “pizza face,” “four eyes,” “fatty,” “stupid” or “weirdo” and the majority of the auditorium had their hands up.

“That shouldn’t happen. ...We need to change the school; changing the school will change the community,” she said.

The event’s musical numbers included student performances of Mark Wills’ “Don’t Laugh At Me” and Taylor Swift’s “Mean.”

LaGoy also pointed out that her peers should not only be kind to each other but to the entire community.

She said the next time they see a homeless person they shouldn’t “just assume he’s a drug addict.”

“Who are we to judge someone we don’t even know?” she said.