Young Singer Challenges Bullying (Spotlight Magazines)
Published by Spotlight Magazines
Apr. 1, 2014
Article by D. K. Christi
Naples — When Lizzie Sider spoke, forty young girls listened intently. The fifteen year-old recording artist from Boca Raton, Florida spoke the language understood by the fourth through sixth grade girls at Gulf Coast Charter Academy South – the language of bullying. Sider spoke from experience reflected in her hit single, Butterfly.
“I was the new kid at school, not in the cliques. No one picked me for games or lunch. At recess, I walked alone, sometimes singing songs I wrote,” said Sider, a songwriter and vocalist. “They would ask me to sing and then laugh.”
“How old were you when you started to write songs?” asked one student to whom Sider responded with a question asking how many in the classroom wrote songs and essays and stories. Most of the hands went into the air as she said she was their age, nine.
“Writing is a great way to express emotions,” she added.
Students streamed from the classroom for the assembly. Sider signed cards, papers and shirts. One young girl sighed, “I’m never going to wash this shirt.”
A parent, Sandra Forbis, said, “It’s a great idea to have someone talking about bullying closer to their level, a celebrity to believe instead of just another adult.”
The entire GCCAS, including staff, attended the outdoor mini-concert and talk by Sider. She tapped staff and students for her small “band” to accom pany her songs and support the message she learned from her dad, “No one has the power to ruin your day.”
The rousing ending to the assembly included a repeat of the song, Butterfly. Students stood, clapped their hands and danced in place, cell phones in the air taking pictures as they sang out the words that inspire them to be better friends and not allow bullying to take hold in their school, “I’m a butterfly!”
Joao Fernandez Davila, a sixth grader, said he was, “a little excited that she would be here. She inspired us to not ignore bullying and not do it to other people. It hurts. We don’t want that to happen.”
Tarah Gantzert, also in sixth grade, felt it was different to hear Sider talk about bullying because she had the experience. “She was in our shoes,” said Gantzert who heard the message to treat people better, stick up for people and stay strong.
GCCAS in its first year of operation is determined to stop bullying at the roots. Inviting Sider was a stopgap measure to help all students gain a better understanding of how they should respond to bullying and not do it to others. Principal Michael Auer doesn’t want the national bullying epidemic to infect his students.
GCCAS was the last Naples stop as part of the two hundred fifty-school tour from California to Florida organized by Sider on a mission to end bullying. See lizziesider.com