Students at Bowdish Middle School in the Central Valley School District have been gearing up for a play that not only gives them drama experience, but teaches an important lesson.
“The Bully Plays” was performed Friday at University High School starring Bowdish students.
Principal Dave Bouge said his students have learned a lot about kids who bully and why.
“Oftentimes, the bully has been bullied, too,” Bouge said. “It doesn’t excuse it.”
Choir and orchestra teacher Raelyn Toth said there were more than 50 students involved in the play and five students from U-Hi who came to direct.
There were five miniplays, seven songs and personal stories from some of the students.
“I’m just amazed at how brave they are to stand up and say, ‘This has happened to me,’ ” Toth said.
The play at Bowdish is an annual activity. Every student who auditioned in early December has some involvement in it.
Jordyn Ries, an eighth grader, said she has been in other plays at the school.
“This one’s different,” she said of the play’s subject. “It’s doesn’t happen to just kids.”
Ries, Gabby Arteaga, Maria Figart, Kaitlyn Calhoun and Monique Foster starred in “Downhill,” one of the five miniplays. It demonstrates how easily bullying can spread from one person to another. A boss bullies a mother, who goes home and bullies her daughter, who bullies her friend at school. That friend, played by Calhoun, realizes she should stop the cycle when she comes home to her little sister.
“It’s like it goes in a big circle,” Calhoun said.
“It makes us realize bullying doesn’t happen only at school,” said Emma Chan, the school’s ASB president who also is in the play.
Toth said bullying at Bowdish still happens.
“It’s a problem, like it is at every school,” she said. What is important is how the issue is addressed.
While the students in “Downhill” know that bullying can spread from one person to another, they also know a way to fix that.
“Kindness does, too,” Ries said.