Saturday, May 15, 2004

Jay Banks encourages students to stop bullies, build character
Inside our schools

Treva Lind

STAMP out bullying. That was a message delivered this week in Spokane Valley by speaker Jay Banks, who talks in schools nationwide promoting character and helping children stop bullies.

Banks spoke Monday at McDonald and University elementary schools. STAMP is an acronym he uses for: Stay away from bullies, Tell someone, Avoid bad situations, Make friends and Project confidence.

He also told audiences that character is what people do when no one is watching.

"Character is
what you do when no one knows what you do, when no one tells you what to do," he told the McDonald audience. "It has a lot to do with bullies."

"Character is what you decide every day."

Banks uses humor, his own childhood experiences with bullies, animated hand motions and tones of voice covering the full range from a child's to a grandmother's.

"Grandma says if you play with fire you'll get burned. If you go near a bully, you'll get hurt. You've got to stay away from these people, kids."

"Telling is not tattling, when you try to get someone in trouble just to make yourself feel better. A bad situation is when a teacher can't see you."

Walking with a buddy or staying in groups dissuades bullies who are prone to attack a person who is alone, Banks added. "He's not going to pick on five."

Banks uses some statistics to wake up audiences to trends in bullying.

"Eighty to 90 percent of these children by the time they reach middle school will say they've been bullied," he said. "Teachers, national research shows that if you have an intervention program of any kind, it reduces bullying by at least 50 percent."

Banks also used an unusual approach to warm up his audience: his own wake-up dance. Using exaggerated dance motions to imitate morning hygiene steps, Banks got teachers and kids into the dance, "so you don't come to school all tired."

From Tennessee where he has his own production company, Banks created a music video, "E-I-O My Goodness," which aired on Nickelodeon. He co-wrote and produced a kid's television series called "Newt and Buxley" and has spoken for the past 27 years at elementary and middle schools.

Banks developed and performed programs for S.A.D.D., D.A.R.E., "Just Say No" and M.A.D.D. He also has collaborated with the United Way, YMCA and Special Olympics.

University students win honors

University High School recently announced student awards from a Future Business Leaders of America state competition in Yakima in late April.

Zach Brown took first place in visual basic programming; Beth Niggemyer and Laine Anderson took fourth place in Emerging Business Issues; Tyler Ormsby and Suzanne Almeidawon fifth place in Emerging Business Issues; and Marissa Florio earned a fourth-place in Impromptu Speaking.

WAVE scholarship awarded

John Hennessy, a U-Hi student, recently received the WAVE scholarship (Washington Association for Vocational Excellence) for his outstanding achievements during high school in the professional-technical program. This represents an approximate $13,000 scholarship that can be used toward his college expenses. Hennessy plans to attend Gonzaga University to pursue

business and accounting studies.

Golf clubs grant scholarships

The Painted Hills golf course Men's and Ladies' clubs announced the winners of 2004 scholarships. This year's scholarships are valued at $1,500 each.

The winners are:

•Erin Blinzler, who will graduate from Havermale High School. She began high school at Gonzaga Prep but for health reasons was unable to remain in traditional, daylong class sessions. Her last two years of high school have been in a contract-based program at Havermale and she has maintained a nearly perfect scholastic record. Her overall GPA for high school is 3.3. She plans to attend Spokane Falls Community College and study child psychology.

•Matt Schiller, a Central Valley High School senior. He maintains a 3.4 GPA while being active in school and as a 4-H leader. His 4-H club has worked to assist the Spokane Humane Society, and Schiller has taught showmanship clinics or other 4-H club members. A CV golf team member, he served as the captain his junior year. He also has held Associated Student Body office and was a 2000 People to People Student Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand. Schiller is considering his college, possibly at Santa Clara University or California State, with an interest in business and advertising.

•Ross Lanes, from University High School. He has a 3.6 GPA and plans to attend Eastern Washington University or Spokane Falls Community College. His school and community activities include being an Eagle Scout, school band, debate team and Future Business Leaders of America. His Eagle Scout work included leadership positions that led to his award of the Vigil Honor, the highest award given by the Order of the Arrow to a member. Lanes is interested in computer sciences.

•Inside Our Schools appears each week in the Valley Voice. If you have news about Valley schools: Write: Treva Lind, Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley, WA 99216. Fax: 927-2175. Phone: 218-5042 or e-mail:

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