Students honored for essay challenge on impacts of bullying, violence

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield School District students were honored Tuesday for putting pen to paper to share their personal experiences with bullying.

For the past several months, middle school students in the district have been participating in the national “Do the Write Thing” Challenge program.

The program challenges students to write an essay on how violence, including bullying, has personally impacted them and how they can reduce violence in their communities.

Tuesday’s celebration at the John Legend theater included a presentation of awards to the top 10 students and the two finalists who will advance to a virtual national conference.

Each finalist, such as Roosevelt Middle School eighth grader Lily Hatton, showed their wisdom by speaking about the sensitive topic.

“I think a lot of kids just laugh and smile, or pretend like they didn’t hear it, but it can really hurt people. We make jokes that can hurt people where we laugh and then go cry later,” Hatton said.

Corbin Lambert was the winner of the essay challenge.

“For anyone that is struggling with bulling, you find good friends that will be there, and try to be with your family. Do what you can to keep fighting because it is going to get better,” Lambert said.

The Springfield School District is the first in Ohio to participate in the program.

The finalists in the challenge were joined by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost who said he’s taken a special interest in the state’s fight against bullying.

Yost called the event a tool to be used against this issue, which has already hurt so many kids.

“This was successful here. The response was overwhelming, and the work quality was profound and other school districts around the state are looking at this and saying ‘I want to do that,’” Yost said.

Two winners will now pass on their words to a national audience, representing Springfield at an upcoming community violence conference.

Each student submitted messages worth remembering that will be immortalized in a booklet that was handed out to everyone who attended the ceremony.