Sometimes, a person doesn’t have to be big to make a big impact. That was the mentality of a group of students from a small Adams County high school who decided to make a change.
The plan started after Adams-Friendship High School’s respect week, a school spirit week aimed at fighting bullying. It was led by the school’s Respect Team, four senior girls on mission to leave their mark.
“We just wanted to speak for ourselves right here in Adams about what we can do about it,” one of the members in the group said.
It wasn’t so much speaking as it was roaring.
The team chose to enter in pop singer Katy Perry’s "Roar" music video contest. Schools across the country had the chance to make their own version of Perry’s single, “Roar.” The winning school would get a concert from Perry herself.
The video shows a chain reaction of kindness starting small but ending with a resounding roar from students, spelling out their call.
The Respect Team directed, edited and entered the video after getting help from the school’s 521 students. The result surprised everyone.
“It was awesome. I’m surprised that it wasn’t a finalist for the competition,” said Adams-Friendship teacher Brittany Roscovius.
Assistant Principal Jeff Wiessenger said the video was amazing. He said the theme lined up with a new tactic the school is taking to target bullying.
Wiessenger calls it creating a culture of respect. He said stopping bullying on an incident-by-incident basis is only reacting to a growing problem.
“If all we do is react to incidences, we're not going to solve the problem, and it may increase. This way, if we can change the culture, we can change the behavior,” Wiessenger said.
Wiessenger said the staff hopes to continue where the video left off and create a culture of respect in the school.
Adams-Friendship didn’t place in the contest, but the Respect Team said they hope the video will stay around for a long time.
The winner was a school from Colorado with more than four times the amount of students as Adams-Friendship, proving sometimes all you need are a few voices to make a big roar.