'POWERFUL': Alstonville student's strong message on bullying
ONE Alstonville Public School has stood strong against bullying after winning a national poster competition.
Eleven-year-old Trinity Sheridan was announced the winner of Interrelate's 'Say No To Bullying' competition by the Governor of New South Wales David Hurley.
The poster competition, which began in NSW five years ago, is now in its first year as a national competition and attracted 45,000 primary aged school children to register this year.
Interrelate CEO Patricia Occelli said Trinity's poster was a clear stand out in this year's entries.
"For us it was about the messaging, it looked like she understood the impact and what it meant to believe in yourself and stand up against those negative messages," Ms Occelli said.
"It was a very good artwork in terms of the drawing itself, it was quite powerful as well."
What made Trinity's poster even more dynamic was her personal touch.
"We didn't know at the time... (but) some of the words used in the artwork were words spoken directly to her," Ms Occelli said.
Students from Lennox Head Public School were also amongst the stand outs in this years submissions, as Ajandri Kelly, Lexi O'Connor and Emma Flanagan were chosen amongst the 13 Highly Commended entries.
The 2018 competition 'Bullieve in yourself' focused on self-belief, a theme shared with the 20th Century Fox hit movie Ferdinand.
In total 33 finalists were recognised at the Government House Sydney award ceremony.
"We encourage the schools to participate and undertake the event in their actual school," Ms Occelli said.
"As part of the registration we provide them with the resource material so that they can have the conversation in the classroom with the children and then ask the children to draw a picture."
Ms Occelli said she was uplifted by the willingness of children to be involved in the anti-bullying conversation.
"We see far too often in the media the devastating news of young people who have felt that suicide was the only option they had left after relentless bullying. What these figures show is that victims of bullying are not alone and that there is in fact an army of other young people willing to stand beside them," Ms Occelli said.
"We know that there is power in numbers and really encourage young people who see bullying behaviours in their schools to step up and let the victims know that it's not the entire world against them.
"Let them know that they are worth standing up for and that you will stay with them until things change for the better."
Mr Hurley said the competition aims to raise awareness and create discussion surrounding an important issue in the community.
"We all want to live in - and our children to live in - an environment that is safe and free from bullying. We all want our communities to be safer, kinder and friendlier," he said.
"The competition empowers children to 'Say No to Bullying'. It acknowledges their right to believe in their own individuality and identity, without the fear of being bullied.
"It also provides a channel for parents and teachers to discuss and address issues of bullying behaviour that may have otherwise gone unnoticed in the classroom or playground or outside of school life.
"As Patron, I congratulate Interrelate on this initiative that was first launched in New South Wales several years ago and is now a national initiative."