On October 29, more than 250 people attended the first-ever BC Community Walk sponsored by the No Place for Hate clubs at the middle school and high school. The walk took place on the track at the high school’s stadium field. Students, families, staff, administrators, Board of Education members and local elected officials took part in the festivities which included music by the Hooligans, facepainting, snacks and a brisk walk on a gorgeous fall evening.
With a theme of “Be the Change BC,” the event was designed to build unity in the school community and to introduce students K-12 to the work of No Place for Hate in the district. Both the high school and middle school have been named No Place for Hate schools by the Anti-Defamation League.
Representatives from Bethlehem Central’s No Place for Hate kicked off the event by talking a little bit about the walk and about the groups’ efforts year-round.
“Our goal here tonight is to help promote and celebrate unity, respect and community throughout Bethlehem,” said No Place for Hate advisor Megan Sanders, who runs the middle school group with counselor Chynna Marcucci and teacher Cori DiFabbio. “We have students, families, faculty from our elementary schools, middle school, high school and community members present here tonight. We are beyond thankful for all of the support that No Place For Hate receives from our community and administration.
“This gives us hope that this movement will continue to bring Bethlehem together and create an even more inclusive and safe place for all,” said Sanders.
High School advisor Lindsay Knott thanked several people who volunteered and organized the Community Walk, including:
- Members of No Place For Hate at the high school and middle school
- Jody Monroe, Superintendent of Schools
- David Doemel, High School Principal
- Mike Klugman, Middle School Principal
- Beth Martinez, Anti-Defamation League
- Jess Cooper, Anti-Defamation League
- BCSD faculty, staff and PTAs
- Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited (BOU)
- The Bethlehem Police Department and the district’s SROs
- The Hooligans pep band
“Coretta Scott King once said ‘The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members,” middle school counselor Chynna Marcucci told the crowd. “Tonight is a representation of this and I know that I speak collectively when I say that we are so thankful to have you all here tonight.”
Several elected officials also attended the Community Walk including Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven, New York State Assemblymember Pat Fahy, Bethlehem Town Board Member Daniel Coffey and Bethlehem Receiver of Taxes Alicia Roney.
High school student and No Place for Hate officer Emma Van Luven also addressed the walk’s participants. Her remarks are here:
Hello, I am Emma VanLuven and I am treasurer this year for No Place for Hate in the High School. First off, we would like to thank everyone for coming out for this great cause tonight.Tonight we gather to help promote unity, respect, and community. During the month of October, we helped to raise awareness of bullying in schools and the community. Still today in the US, 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 have been bullied during the school year. More than half of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. No Place for hate is about educating people and eliminating hate, bias, and violence in our school and throughout our community. This club is important to this district because it reminds people to be nice and giving it also encourages people to be an upstander, not a bystander. We work every day to create an environment where every student feels included and welcomed. I want No Place for Hate to continue to be a club that truly makes a difference for the people in this district.
Thank you to everyone who helped make the No Place for Hate inaugural walk a great success! No Place for Hate sponsors activities throughout the year aimed at building a more inclusive school culture. Learn more about BC’s No Place for Hate here and how you can get involved.