Pupils from New-Bridge College have been praised as Anti-bullying Champions at a Princess Diana Award charity where they received awards from Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann.
The school was among only five from both sides of the border whose pupils were recognised for their work following their participation in the Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Programme, which trains young people to act as Anti-bullying Ambassadors.
Year 9 student, Dylan Stewart, was one of the pupils to receive an award last week. Dylan, an anti-bullying ambassador changed his ways after watching a devastating film about the effects of bullying on-line.
Dylan said: “In First Year I used to go around and bully people myself, call people names, and stuff like that.
“When I got into the Diana Anti-bullying Ambassador project, I realised the risks to people being bullied and what can happen to them.
“I knew then I wanted to change. I knew I wanted to become an ambassador.
“I went to the Diana Award event in Cookstown and I really wasn’t that into it at the start – I didn’t understand it. Then a video was played of this little 8 year old girl who had been bullied all her life. When she turned 16 she killed herself. That had a big impact on me.
“When Mrs Wright asked me if I would like to become an ambassador, I didn’t have to think twice about it.”
Dylan along with the 14 anti bullying ambassadors in the College are among 600 ambassadors from 55 schools across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Speaking at the event in Facebook’s European Headquarters in Dublin, Junior Minister Bell said: “The efforts of these young people from Loughbrickland are a great legacy to the late Diana, Princess of Wales’ belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better”.
Junior Minister McCann said: “Listening to the presentations from the young people here today, I have been struck by their enthusiasm and determination to make a positive difference in stopping bullying and keeping safe online.
We all share that responsibility and the Executive is working to raise the profile of Internet safety. Congratulations to the successful schools and pupils”.
The day included a host of special guests, ministers and celebrities including Hollywood actor Will Poulter.
Upper Bann MP David Simpson is a great advocate of the work the anti-bullying ambassadors are undertaking at New-Bridge College and also participated in the day, being filmed along with students.