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Country singer campaigns against bullying in Newcastle

Artist Lizzie Sider performs at the school Wednesday
By: Amy Lobenberg, Journal Staff Writer
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NEWCASTLE -- Country artist Lizzie Sider is no stranger to bullying, which is why she decided to team up with PACER National Bullying Prevention Center for a state-wide school tour aimed at promoting bullying prevention.

On Wednesday morning the Florida native arrived at Newcastle Elementary School to lead one of 80 assemblies that she is scheduled to perform at during her tour across California.

After groups of fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders had filled the auditorium, 15-year-old Sider described her own experience with bullying and explained the inspiration behind her slogan: “No one has the power to ruin your day.”

“When I was in elementary school I was teased by other kids your age,” Sider said. “It was a hard time for me to get through and I came home crying every day. One day before I left for school my dad said, ‘No one has the power to ruin your day.’ It means that we decide whether or not someone’s words or actions make us feel down at the end of the day.”

Sider asked members of the audience to close their eyes and raise their hands if they had ever been bullied. She then asked them to open their eyes and look around the room. Students were shocked to find that almost all of their peers had been bullied at some point in their lives.

She also described several famous people, such as Steve Jobs and Selena Gomez, and asked students to think about what they all had in common. Seventh-grader Abbie Voges guessed that they had all been bullied, and Sider went on to explain that it is up to students to look out for one another and speak up if someone is being hurt or teased.

The assembly ended with Sider singing “Butterfly,” a song dedicated to bullying prevention.

Newcastle Elementary Principal Kris Knutson was grateful that he was able to have Sider visit the school.

“One of the things that really concerns me is how people’s self-esteem can be cut right out from under them by poor remarks,” Knutson said. “What she did for them (the students) today was give them power. I was bullied too … it inspired me to become a principal because I wanted to make sure that never happened to any children or adults in my school.”

Sider’s publicist, Kimberly Christman of Rogers & Cowan, is excited to watch the young artist grow and share her experiences to educate others.

“Lizzie is a lot of fun,” Christman said. “She pulls from her life experience, which is evident in songs like ‘Butterfly.’ She is a great role model for young people to be inspired by. She is positive and it’s great that she is able to share her story about being bullied. That makes her stand out and helps drive her message home.”