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Rise above bullying in Henry County

High schoolers from every school inHenry Countyattended a presentation Wednesday bymotivational speaker Nick Vujicicin the New Castle Fieldhouse.

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

It’s not always easy being a teenager, no matter where you grow up.

Mix in some adolescent teasing and bullying, and high school might seem like torture for some kids.

As part of Bullying Prevention Month, New Castle High School brought international speaker Nick Vujicic to town to share a message to stop the bullying and maybe save some lives.

Vujicic, who was born with no arms or legs, has been on tour across the United States as part of the “Rise Above Bullying” program.

“Rise Above Bullying” had already taken Vujicic to Texas, Utah and California. Wednesday’s presentation at the New Castle Fieldhouse was the final stop in his 2019 tour.

It wasn’t just Trojans from New Castle High School and Middle School packing the Fieldhouse bleachers.

Students from Blue River, Tri, Knightstown and Shenandoah filled the audience, along with classes from Pendleton Heights and Eastern Hancock. New Castle also invited local homeschool students and teenaged residents from Tru Harbor to hear Vujicic talk.

Camera crews ringed the basketball court to live stream Vujicic’s anti-bullying and anti-suicide message through riseabovebullying.com.

Vujicic wanted the teens in front of him Wednesday to know that their words, their whispers and their gossip could devastate someone’s life.

At one point during the talk Wednesday, he asked the assembled teens if any of them had ever thought about killing themselves or even attempted suicide. Many indicated they had and that some of those feelings came from being in broken homes. Other suicidal thoughts came from being bullied in school.

“Here’s some good news: You’re still breathing,” Vujicic said. “What I want you to understand is each of you have value.”

Vujicic encouraged the students to talk with their school counselors if they are hurting or are thinking about killing themselves.

He then asked the thousands of students in the Fieldhouse to pledge to stop the gossip and bullying that hurts so many of them. The words that push so many young people to the point of considering suicide just to make it stop.

More than that, Vujicic asked the teens to tell the people sitting next to them “You matter.” A kind heart, he said, can make the world a better place.

“You don’t need money to make a difference,” Vujicic said. “We all have influence... You’re a world-changer.”

New Castle Career Center Director Chris Lamb thought the presentation was a great opportunity for the students.

“Bullying is a concern in any school,” Lamb said. “Any time we can get someone on an international stage to come to New Castle, it’s priceless.”

New Castle student Emily Allen was impressed by what Vujicic had to say.

“It was a great speech, very inspiring,” Allen said. “I think his story and message should be shared.”

Vujicic posted a short video from the New Castle presentation at www.instagram.com/nickvujicic.