By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Standing are owner of Blue Imp Stu Scott, principal of Ken Sauer School Carla Carrier, trustee Yvonne Sissons, and superintendent Mark Davidson. Sitting on the Be Kind bench are Grade 2 student Brooklyn Mardian and her sister, Grade 4 student Olivia Mardian. Each person in the photo chose their aspirational sticker to wear for Pink Shirt Day.NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Pink Shirt Day is Grade 4 student Olivia Mardian’s favourite, and to have a Blue Imp Be Kind bench delivered to her school, Ken Sauer, makes this one extra special.

“I don’t like when people bully because it’s not nice,” she said.

Blue Imp delivered 13 benches to public schools, six to Catholic schools, one to CAPE School and another to Ecole Les Cypres in Medicine Hat. Most of the benches were delivered last week and general manager Michael Rasmussen said everyone was very excited at each school they delivered to.

“Anti-bullying coincides nicely with playgrounds and that’s what we manufacture here in Medicine Hat,” said Rasmussen.

Owner of Blue Imp Stu Scott explained, “every year we donate to hockey clubs and that sort of thing and it’s been a while since we did a larger program locally. When we were talking about it, Pink Shirt Day was on the horizon and we thought it was a good opportunity to come up with a bench with an anti-bullying message.”

There was lots going on in the school when the bench was delivered. Right inside the main doors the success coach for the school, Kassidy Suberlak, was handing out stickers with aspirational messages on them. Principal Carla Carrier explained how students could identify with the messages and wear them for the day. There were lots of options to choose from, such as brave, caring, smart, or resilient.

Olivia chose a calm sticker, and said her class would be watching videos for Pink Shirt Day but were also going to the book fair, working at literacy stations, and having recess, which is her favourite.

Olivia’s sister Brooklyn, who is in Grade 2, picked a funny sticker because everyone in her class thinks she’s funny.

“I play and I dance funny moves,” said Brooklyn.

Trustee Yvonne Sissons was wearing a friendly sticker and said, “I’m the trustee rep for Dr. Ken Sauer. This is my second year being their rep and I’ve attended their school council meetings and this speaks to them perfectly. The teachers really wrap their arms around their students and their families and I feel they have a wonderful sense of community.”

MHPSD superintendent Mark Davidson said classrooms across the division will be focused on the meaning behind wearing a pink shirt.

“It’s a great day for us to be able to have purposeful conversations about kindness,” said Davidson.

By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 17, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta

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