Students honored for Anti-Bullying poster designs

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Courtesy of Dearborn Patch:

Picture this: A tearful teen ponders the physical and emotional pain of having arrows in her back, or a hero asking his classmates to stand up to those that would hurt others.

These two images are about to become very familiar in Dearborn Public Schools, local businesses, as well as at the state capital, as the designs named the winners of Dearborn’s anti-bullying poster contest.

The artists–Kaidhum Ganem from Geer Park Elementary and Hamzeh Abdorabe from Edsel Ford High School–were recognized at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

The boys received several certificates of appreciation from Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly, Wayne County Commissioner Gary Woronchak, and state Rep. George Darany, who will take the framed posters to Lansing.

“It warms my heart to see students like this that take the initiative on (the) very important subject of anti-bullying,” Darany said. “It’s a pleasure to meet the artists behind the masterpieces that were presented.”

O’Reilly was also complimentary of the posters, and said that by hanging them at schools, in businesses and other public places, people will get the message that bad behavior needs to stop.

“Unfortunately, bullying happens at all ages in our community,” O’Reilly said. “In this case, our students are going to be the persons who teach the rest of our community how to behave, and I think that’s great.”

Abdorabe’s design features a teenage girl sitting alone with four arrows in her back; three young women stand in the background, tossing the arrows.

Abdorabe, a junior at Edsel, thanked his teachers and his father Monday night.

“What I did means a lot to me,” he said. “It means that I had great opportunity to deliver my message … to all the students in the Dearborn Public School district, and that was my goal. I hope that bullying will stop and we as students learn in a safe and fair learning environment.”

Ganem, whose poster features a superhero and the tagline, “Be an upstander, not a bystander,” represents how others should react when they see bullying at school.

The concept struck a chord with O’Reilly.

“When we (O’Reilly and Ganem) were talking beforehand, he told me that, ‘It bothers me that superheroes like Batman have to hurt somebody to save somebody,’” O’Reilly told Monday’s meeting attendees. “(Ganem was) sharp enough to recognize that, ‘Hey, wait a minute, is there a better way?”

The district’s anti-bullying campaign was kicked off in September. Mustonen, who oversaw the contest, said it was one way of reaching students.

“It’s more than just a poster contest,” he said. “It’s a way for the kids to connect to the program and bring some reality to what we’re trying to explain to them and tell them, and it highlights and compliments, the curriculum part of it, and everything else. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s not.”

Ganem and Abdorabe were chosen by two committees of teachers, officials and other judges from 1,400 entries. The submissions were judged on creativity, messaging and other factors such as how the poster would reproduce.

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