Motivational Speaker Duane West Launches
Red Ribbon Week In Bogota
NorthJersey.com : News : Education
BOGOTA - Lillian M. Steen School recently took part in the
state-wide Red Ribbon Week initiative and were treated to an
assembly performed by one of the nation’s leading celebrity youth
Red Ribbon Week, a state-wide initiative that focuses on promoting
anti-bullying message, was launched at Steen School by Duane West,
a former professional Arena Football League player who has turned his
attention towards motivational speaking. West delivered the keynote
address to the entire school with his presentation known as
"Bound for Greatness."
West grew up in Newark and was teased as a child for coming from
a poor background and having learning disabilities. He spoke with the
students about using education as his lifeline from homelessness and
being an at-risk, special needs student. Despite his struggles, his time
spent in the classroom helped transform him into a first-generation
college graduate, author, writer, professional athlete and television
"Leadership, anti-bullying, focus, respect," said West, which are
a few of the themes he taught the Steen students through singing,
dancing and audience participation. The children were thoroughly
engaged and many of them waited after the assembly to speak with
The Bogota School District has been promoting character education
lessons that focus on teaching tolerance in order to reduce harassment,
intimidation and bullying in the borough’s schools. West’s messages of
respect, conflict resolution, leadership and wellness were impactful in
reinforcing those lessons.
"I strongly believe that we can decrease bullying by introducing students
to the signs of bullying and the appropriate response as early as possible,
" said Whitney Luciano, Steen School’s social worker. "I want to build a
school climate that promotes respect and responsibility. If students care
about one another, the learning environment will become more
productive. I want the kids to understand the consequences and power
that bullying can have on us not only as children, but if carried with us,
it affects and discourages us from accomplishing our goals as adults."
Steen School also has its Principal’s Assistant Leaders (PAL) program
running to further promote character education. Six sixth grade students
have been selected as PALs for the 2014-2015 school year.
The students selected had to meet several requirements and submit an essay explaining why they wanted to be a PAL and what ideas they would bring to the program. Each student also had to have their teacher sign the bottom of the paper to act as a recommendation. The selection process took into account a student’s grades and behavior in class.
Each month, the PAL students will be taught a lesson on various topics such as cooperation, respect, honest, responsibility, compassion, self-control, fairness, moral courage and commitment. Beginning in December, the sixth grade students will go into the classrooms of the younger students to teach these lessons to their peers.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014, 12:31 AM
BY MARK KRULISH, STAFF WRITER |
Here West is pictured with students, from left to right, Jaden Harrison, Marcus Pozo and Brian Coates. Social worker, Whitney Luciano, is on the end on the right.