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Students to receive anti-bull;ying awards 19 April 2007

SIX students from Ballakermeen High School are to receive awards in memory of the late Princess of Wales for their outstanding contribution to tackling bullying in the community.

Rachel Hardie, 14, Jordann Chetwynd, 14, Julianne Brookes, 15, Katie Entwisle, 14, Charlotte Faragher, 14, and Samantha Green, 14, have been chosen to receive Diana Anti-Bullying Awards for their work as peer mentors, or ‘Buddies’.

Each break and lunchtime at Ballakermeen, students specially trained by the charity Childline make themselves available to help fellow students with a range of problems, offering help, advice, mediation or just a listening ear.

Ballakermeen Assistant Head Teacher Paul Kane said:

‘These award winners have been the most dedicated and committed members of a group of 30 Buddies, giving unstintingly of their time and expertise.’

He explained:

‘The scheme began operating in September last year as part of a general initiative to improve the well-being of the young people at Ballakermeen and to reduce hurtful behaviour. This summer a second wave of volunteers will be trained.’

The Diana Anti-Bullying Award – part of the Diana Award, set up in memory of the late Princess – is run in partnership with the Anti-Bullying Alliance. The Award recognises the contribution of children and young people up to the age of 18 to tackling bullying in their schools and communities. The Award is open to all primary and secondary schools and to youth groups.

The six proud students will receive their awards from Education Minister Anne Craine MHK at the Department of Education, St George’s Court, Upper Church Street, Douglas, on Wednesday, April 25 at noon.

Mrs Craine commented:

‘Bullying can be a nasty problem in schools. I think that the best people to deal with are the students themselves, who can really relate to the problem and support those who are being bullied. The Buddy scheme at Ballakermeen is a great example of young people looking out for one another. It takes courage to stand up to bullies or to seek help when you may need it. The presentation of these anti-bullying awards is a way of recognising these special young people, who will, I am sure, become the caring citizens of our community in the future.’

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