Trio of students give program for school

LOCK HAVEN — A trio of students are trying to give Clinton County elementary students the tools they need to stop bullying behavior.

Most people know that bullying is an unwanted, aggressive behavior among both children and adults that involves actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

It is extremely hurtful behavior and can be incredibly destructive.

On Tuesday at the Lock Haven Catholic School, three Central Mountain High School students gave a presentation to kids in the second and third grades.

The message was simple: Bullying is never okay, it’s never cool or acceptable, and no one EVER deserves to be bullied.

The three Central Mountain students are Zach Neff, 17, a senior and the son of Steven and Frances Neff of Salona; Joey Moore, 16, a junior and the son of Tim and Holly Moore of McElhattan; and Cassie Rosh, 18, a senior and the daughter of Kelly and Alan Rosh of Mill Hall.

The three put together a presentation for elementary schools as part of their SkillsUSA competition. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It provides educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education in the nation’s classrooms.

The SkillsUSA Championships are competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels.

In this case, the local group is competing in the category of community service against another CMHS team, and the one judged the best will move forward to the state competition in Hershey next March.

State-level SkillsUSA winners will go on the national competition in Louisville, Ky.

The philosophy of the championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance, and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.

“Community service has been a passion of mine, especially after I found that one in every three kids in the United States has said they’ve been bullied at one time or another,” Neff said.

Given this situation, Neff  said, the team decided to reach out to several local elementary schools about bullying, including the parochial Lock Haven Catholic School and the public elementary schools of Dickey, Mill Hall and Renovo.

The team will finish its educational tour Dec. 9 at Renovo.

Neff, Moore and Rosh say the entire effort focuses on encouraging children to “think it through before they act.”

“We ask kids how they feel if they are bullied and what they think they can do about that,” Rosh said.

The youngsters are then given pink strips of paper, on which they can write comments and suggestions to combat bullying. The trio will string the comments together and photograph them as a representation of the event for teachers.

The young students are also encouraged to sign a pledge to be “A Kid Against Bullying,” and each is presented with a coloring book focusing on kindness and respect for others.