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Hillside Middle School stands united against bullying

November 2, 2020

Parma City School District believes in embracing all by celebrating the uniqueness of everyone and promoting kindness, acceptance and inclusion. 

Every year, schools around the district celebrate Unity Day and National Bullying Prevention Month in October.

Hillside Middle School worked on a special project this October to unite students through diversity led by school guidance counselor Don Armstrong and art teachers Deanna Huff and Rebecca Wunderle.

“Our project was to create a mural of wings with the theme being ‘Unity through Diversity,’” Armstrong shared. “I did classroom presentations regarding bullying, kindness, nonjudgmental acceptance, diversity and inclusion. The art teachers used the feathers to teach the design concepts of unity and variety/diversity to connect it all together. All students and staff had the opportunity to submit a designed feather. Our message was that just like the feathers in a bird's wings, we are all unique and special but when we work together our potential is limitless.”

The school has always participated in Unity Day but has not had a school-wide project. Unity Day is officially celebrated on October 21, and students and staff were asked to wear orange to show their support for unity.

Armstrong said he would like for a school-wide mural to become an annual tradition as they already have several years of themes in mind.

“At Hillside, we feel strongly about bullying, diversity, kindness, inclusion and unity,” he expressed. “Unity Day celebrates these core values. Especially in these trying times, we were excited that this activity was able to be completed by all of our Hillside students, including PVLA. We are truly all in this together!”

Hillside hopes this project reminds students to always be kind and to recognize that everyone is different, but when they come together, they can do great things.

“Even though we are all working remotely, a project like this reminds us that we are all still a family at Hillside,” Armstrong added. “We are exploring ideas of how to share the mural with our students electronically so that they can superimpose their picture/bitmoji/avatar with the mural.”

The school will also be starting an Embrace All Club, following the district’s Embrace All initiative.

“I think this project perfectly aligns with the Embrace All initiative of creating an inclusive community where we celebrate individual differences and promote understanding and acceptance of all individuals,” Armstrong described. “It helped bring awareness to the issue of bullying and exclusion while focusing more on how if we create a kind, accepting, unified, and inclusive environment these things don’t really have the ability to exist.”

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