Reprinted from Weston Hooten’s final article as the AMS Kid Sports Reporter.

I had many ideas about what my final article would be about-all sports-related of course. However, in light of my recent experience at AMS I decided I wouldn’t write an article for you all to read, rather I would write an article that speaks to my fellow AMS students. I am making a decision to Stand-Up and Stand Out-I want to talk about bullying and things we can do as students to ensure that it doesn’t happen to our friends, the person that sits next to us in homeroom, the person we pass every day in the hall, and to make sure we are reporting things we see, things we read on social media, and even when things happen to ourselves. I was recently in a situation where I didn’t Stand-Up for the most important person of all-Me. I want to make sure my fellow students know it is o.k. to find your voice. No one should be made to feel bad about themselves. Although it is true that we can’t like everyone, we can be kind-even if we don’t feel like it.
I want to challenge my fellow students to Stand-Up-for themselves and others. Take a firm stand against bullying so we can make this campus a safe place to learn and a safe place to hang out at lunch and break. After all, we are all just confused and crazy teenagers trying to get through this thing called “middle school.” It’s a trying time, we are learning to grow up and manage ourselves as students, friends, leaders, and athletes, where we are constantly hammered with the lure of social media, peer pressure, and the urge to fit in. But, in this crazy stage known as “the teenage years” no one knows better what you’re going through then the person you sit next to in homeroom, the person you pass in the hall and the person in line behind you at the cafeteria. The student body needs to Stand-Up and support each other. Lend a hand, lend an ear, and use words of encouragement. You never know when a kind word might make a difference in a fellow student’s day. I encourage you to think about a time that a fellow student put you down, used words that hurt. Think about the way you felt on the inside. Now tell yourself you do not ever want another student to feel the way you did. Instead, lets Stand-Up to bullies. Let us send the message that AMS is a campus where bullies are not welcome and that we are no longer unwilling or unable to Stand-Up.
You have all heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither will a bully-free campus. However, if students unite towards a common goal of safe school campuses it can be achieved. I encourage my fellow students to Stand-Out. Be you, don’t follow-be a leader. We will spend three years in middle school and four years in high school. Stand-Out, carve your niche, make a difference, leave your mark, make sure on the day you graduate someone remembers you were there, leave a legacy you can look back on with pride. Most of all, leave the school campus a better place than before you got there. So, my fellow Saints and future Greyhounds find the courage to Stand-up, look out for others, stand for something, and know we are all trying to grow up the best we can, and finally Stand-Out, find your interests and make the world a better place.
I hope I have made AMS a better place for having been here. This is your Kid Sports Reporter signing off one last time at AMS.